One thing that we love about the lectures for the SPORT exhibit has been the wonderful assistance provided by the Women Sports Foundation, who helped us bring some incredible athletes to share the podium with photographers. They introduced us to Aimee Mullins who came to speak with Howard Schatz, and Laila Ali who spoke with Mikki Willis.
Last night was another great pairing - this one with a female athlete AND a female photographer - the lovely lenslady Marla Rutheford and the bubbly Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza.
From the way these two ladies played off of each other and cracked each other up you would think you were a fly on the wall at a fun sleepover, not in the room with innovating industry leaders.
For all the laughter and fun the two were very serious in their discussion of their experiences and the not so charming realities about making it in the industry of sports photography.
Marla spoke to the challenges she has faced in developing a trust relationship with her subjects, resorting to charm, intellect, a lot of humor and even a little fibbing so they would feel comfortable posing for artistic semi-nudes.
Jessica discussed the wake-up call moment she had when one of the first images of her in circulation was digitally enhanced by the publishers, causing her to question whether or not her appearance should play such a central role in the coverage of athletics.
They both shared captivating stories about these and other turning points in their extraordinary careers.
...and try as they might they could not stop cracking each other up!
At the end of the day we were just thrilled to be in the presence of such positive, accomplished and inspiring ladies.
(All photos © Unique for the Space)