Photographer Olivia Bohac, whose Sheshredder skate portrait series we previously featured, is back with a new inspirational project. Keeping with the theme of being a girl, she touches on female athletes and the stigma attached to being such a thing in her new series ‘No Shadow of a Doubt’. She embarked on the project to draw light to the lack of coverage female sport gets and here she tells us why she set off to question it…
No Shadow of a Doubt is a project that aims to raise the profile of female athletes and their achievements. The project is still in a very early stage.
I feel it should be something to celebrate! I think the message that I’m trying to convey is that, in our society, there is a still a slight victorian ideal that any exertion of energy by a women is seen as masculine, especially if their performance is done well with co-ordination and skill. That goes for anybody in anything.
They become recognised for how they look, not what they’ve achieved. You see front page, back page, double spreads dominated by the women who win Gold medals at Olympic Games but once it’s over, it goes back to football, rugby, cricket etc. Through day-to-day media coverage, it would appear that female athletes don’t exist, unless they’re in some glossy mag, posing and wearing things that are completely unrelated to the article written about them.
This project began a year or so ago when I started photographing some of the girls skate camps that Lucy Adams was running. I began focusing on female surfers, as I studied in Cornwall, but thought female skateboarders had more of a story.
I find that I can empathise and relate to a lot of the girls I photograph. I grew up playing football with the boys, as I imagine a lot of girls who play sport started out.
I’ve always found that most boys are really encouraging when they can see that, as a girl, you really enjoy your sport and take it seriously. They seem to get really excited if a girl can do some keepy-ups, nail a kickflip, or score consistant 3-pointers. It’s a real shame that this excitement isn’t shared through national media. It’s usually dedicated online pages, such as Cooler, that share this kind of thing, which is awesome!
It can only grow bigger. With the internet there are so many platforms that enable people to come together and build communities online. There is so much out there for people to discover.
I hope that the photos can inspire people to believe in themselves. I genuinely believe that sport itself is such an amazing vehicle for any type of opportunity. It holds such a broad variety of social skills that can be applied to any part of life. I really feel that having played team sports and competed as an individual, both in and out of school, has contributed so much to my personality. I also think this comes across in the girls when I photograph them.
I could chat for the world. I usually just begin by asking a million questions before telling some story of something similar I’d perhaps asked about… That’s kind of what I’m up to at the moment with another project. I’m just beginning my final year project for University on sneaker heads (trainer collectors). It seems to be going well so far, rocking up to shops and talking to people who work there so I’ll probably just keep doing it.
It’s probably a really bad thing as a photographer, but I like chopping and changing between things. I get distracted really easily with new ideas and I’m always at one extreme or the other, so I’m still working it out. But at the moment I’m focusing on my sneaker heads project which is turning out to be really positive and fun!