This calendar project in aid of a specific cause or charity is something that I (mullerfoto.com) have been involved in for the last two years, with this (2014) being the second year – it’s a collaboration with a good friend of mine (Eunice) to make it happen.
For the full back story, I have written about it before here.
BUT, IN A NUTSHELL:
IT IS A PROJECT WHERE TWELVE TOP AMATEUR / PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES (ACROSS SEVERAL DISCIPLINES) WHO BASE THEMSELVES IN STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA, GIVE OF THEIR TIME TO BE PART OF A PHOTO SHOOT WHERE EACH REPRESENTS A MONTH IN A PRINTED CALENDAR THAT IS THEN SOLD IN AID OF A GOOD CAUSE.
THE STORY AND CAUSE FOR 2015
After the 2013 project (i.e. 2014 Calendar), which focused on the fight against women and child abuse, and the images on the dynamic nature of the athletes involved, we decided on a different approach for the 2014 project (i.e. 2015 Calendar). The chosen cause for this year was the ever present fight against depression, and thus the local Stellenbosch non-profit Ithemba Foundation was an ideal organisation to support.
“Stellenbosch Sportsmen Stepping Up In Support of People with Depression”
Depression is something that anyone can suffer from, and it is actually a lot more prevalent among top athletes / people in the public eye than one would think, hence the relevance of the above theme.
Most of the athletes from before were keen to be involved again, which was great and a testament to how much fun the previous year was and the PR mileage all gained from it. Sadly, as these things go, one or two guys from the 2014 Calendar couldn’t give of their time again – even though they were wanting too – due to sponsors being uncooperative.
So you’ll see mostly familiar faces, with a couple of new ones sprinkled in!
Eunice worked her magic with her network of athlete-clients, so we had a person for each month sorted pretty quickly, which only left the location and styling aspects to finalise. After last years extensive location list, we decided to keep things simple this year and approached one of Stellenbosch’s most popular coffee roasters / espresso bars, Hazz, with the request of being our sole location for the whole project.
They were more than happy to collaborate, and as most top athletes develop a keen appreciation for good coffee, along with Hazz’s slogan of:
“Coffee for Heroes”
It was a perfect fit.
Given the somber nature of depression, and to express how serious each individual viewed the cause, it was decided that a more serious facial expression was appropriate rather than the defacto “smile for the camera”. To round things off, local Stellenbosch suit hire business, Tuxedo Junction, came on board as the clothing partner for the athletes.
Lastly, we had some fun with the coffee idea and made sure to include a Hazz espresso cup in each frame, as a play on the highly regarded and excellently produced Lavazza Calendar series of many years.
Shooting was an immense amount of fun, if challenging at times, but hey, that’s how we grow!
So, why get involved with / do something like this? Excellent question, and one which would need a blog post all on it’s own to fully dissect. But let me say this:
It’s a great way to get involved in your local community, trying to make a difference by offering your skill set in a way that could potentially benefit others in need.
THROUGH DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS YOU:
– Grow as a creative (or other, depending on your involvement) professional
– Network with professionals in other fields, building up valuable contacts (I found a new accountant by chance during the project!)
– Meet the most awesome people both on set and standing around spectating
– Make friends for life
Is this project / these images / these people / every aspect perfect? By no means, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s just a bunch of us coming together in order to make a small difference offering what we have – and to have a little fun along the way too, of course 😉
BACK TO THE FUTURE
This project was once again an awesome thing to bring full circle, and I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be contintuing with it in the years to come as a collaboration between myself (mullerfoto.com) and Eunice’s (Outsider Communications) bussiness’s – and of course all the awesome athletes / supporters of the project.
There were six newcomers among the thirteen athletes (hey, when you’re having fun it’s hard to stop at twelve!), with national and international rugby players (Chris Dry, Stephan Dippenaar, Kyle Brown, Steven Hunt), multisport athletes (Bradley Weiss, Matt Daneel), tri-athlete (Theo Blignaut), professional mountain bikers (Jurgens Uys, Adriaan Louw), hockey players (Dylan Swanepoel, Pierre de Voux, Wade Paton) and a soccer player (Alcardo van Graan) who all gave of their time.
WE ARE ALMOST GOING TO PRINT AS I WRITE THIS, SO IF YOU’RE STILL KEEN TO CONTRIBUTE SOME FUNDING, OR TO ORDER A CALENDAR, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH!
2014-11-21 // UPDATE
During the photo-shoot/s for the calendar we did a little interview with each athlete as to what it meant for them to be involved with this project, the results of which were put together in the short video below, and which can finally be made public after the launch of the calendar last night.
FOOTNOTES: Thanks to all involved (again), same time next year!