Women's Cross Country

Behind The Scenes Of A UMass Magazine Photo Shoot

Photographer Ben Barnhart works with four pairs of sisters for a photo featured in this summer's UMass Magazine.

Photographer Ben Barnhart works with four pairs of sisters for a photo featured in this summer's UMass Magazine.

May 17, 2007

AMHERST, Mass. -

  • Photo Shoot Gallery

    The Summer Issue of the UMass Magazine will feature a photo of four pairs of sisters from the UMass women's lacrosse, track and swim teams. But to get the one picture for the magazine, dozens were taken to get that one perfect shot. This is a "Behind The Scenes" look at the photo shoot and the work of photographer Ben Barnhart. Brittany and Kristen Bakanowski, Celia and Mary Jenkins, Cuisle and Eilis Kierans and Jill and Kat Liposky met with Ben for the shoot which was conducted in a classroom at Boyden Gymnasium.

    Ben takes a few shots of the group during the informal session.

    Ben set up the room as a make-shift studio an hour before the girls arrived. With strobe lights flashing and a fan in the back of the room providing a dramatic breeze, the sister pairs took Ben's directions taking small steps to the left or right, turning their chins in one direction while rotating their shoulders the opposite way, and changing their expressions to smiles or 'game faces' without even batting an eyelash.

    The first dozen shots were of the group, sister next to sister, in an informal manner. Smiles, arms on shoulders, laughing as Ben snapped away.

    Photos can be made to look more dramatic depending on elevation, so Ben snapped a few shots while standing on a desk, a couple more while kneeling down and a few others while sitting on the floor.

    The girls then assumed some pretty serious looking "game faces" for a more intense shot. Ben had them move around a bit, just a fraction of a step one way, a hair back or forth in relation to the others, and maybe a slight turn in one direction.

    With the bright strobe lights and the fan going, Ben made the classroom feel like a true photo studio.

    An interesting part of the shoot was the usage of props. Brittany Bakanowski is a hurdler on the track team, while her sister is a pole vaulter. Getting the hurdle into the picture was easy, but the pole was a little tricky as it was longer than the room was high.

    The Liposky twins came with their lacrosse sticks, while the Kierans sisters had track batons and their running spikes.

    Swimmer Celia Jenkins donned her FastSkin wet suit and had goggles and swim cap in hand (Ben was nice enough not to subject her to the torture of actually wearing the swim cap in the photo). Being a diver, her sister Mary could not really bring a diving board in as a prop, but the senior just finished the best season of her career so most swimming and diving fans know what her forte is.

    Despite taking over 100 pictures, Ben knows only one will be good enough to feature in the UMass Magazine.

    After a few more shots, Ben yet again moved the group around in small degrees before snapping off another dozen shots from all angles and distances. For the fans, we were even able to get a few shots of Ben in action.

    When Ben felt he had a good selection of photos, he was generous enough to group each pair for a photo together even though it was not a part of the original shoot.

    Afterwards, each said the shoot was really fun and kindly thanked Ben for taking the photos. For Ben, an hour and a half of work, taking over 100 photos and making a classroom into a photo studio is rewarded by that one great picture that speaks 1,000 words to share with UMass fans all over.




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