After several months without setting foot in a gym, I’m finally returning to my roots to cover an international CrossFit competition.

With everything that’s been going on lately, I hadn’t been in a gym for several months. To tell you the truth, I’ve even come to appreciate this period of “forced rest.” My cameras have been in their bags for several weeks. I didn’t take them out — and I didn’t feel like I wanted to either.

How come? That’s a good question. It’s a bit ironic, me having worked so hard to get exactly to this point; spending my life taking pictures.

In autopilot mode

Without knowing it, I probably actually needed a break., as 2019 was a very busy year. By repeating the same things over and over again, I had lost sight of the main reason why I started this career. I went from contract to contract as quickly and efficiently as possible. Like an image-making machine.

Alex Caron CrossFit athlete

One tiny little idea …

A week prior to the 2020 Rogue Invitational, I thought about covering Alexandre Caron‘s performance. Alex is one of the first elite CrossFit athletes I photographed when I started in 2016. Since then, we have both evolved on our respective paths and have done photoshoots together many times.

With the new Rogue Invitational formula — which was entirely online — I had the opportunity to follow Alexandre during the weekend of his competition in Quebec City. I decided it was finally time to get back on track, dust off my cameras and offer him a new collaboration. He agreed. This very small idea, covering the Invitational, became my first personal project in over three months.

Returning to my roots with CrossFit

CrossFit Levis, the place where Alex trains and competed, is the gym where it all started for me. This is where I developed my passion for sports photography, where I practiced and grew as a visual artist.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a gym. I wondered if I would be able to recreate as powerful images the ones I had made in the past. It was with feverish anticipation that I waited for the start countdown to the first workout of the weekend.

Alexandre Caron CrossFit athlete 2020 Rogue Invitational

The flame

I instantly felt the same excitement I had when I first started sports photography. I was experiencing exactly what I loved so much about it. That felt so good!!!

The intensity, the anticipation, the unexpected, the desire to win — both for the athlete and for myself. Taking a picture of a Workout of the Day (WOD) during a competition is like a sprint. We only have a few minutes to capture meaningful images. Then it’s too late and that moment never comes back. That’s how the flame in me came alive again.

Lots of projects

Now that this fire is burning again, my head is full of ideas. I not only want to create new images but also document how I do it. I realized that people are as much — if not more — fascinated by the process as they are by the end result in itself.

I hid behind the lens for a long time because I thought the only thing worth sharing was the story of the people I was taking pictures of. These athletes, like Alex, are determined, passionate and disciplined. They work so hard every day to achieve their goals.

Alex Caron Rogue Invitational CrossFit

Working differently

When I’ve been deprived of these “subjects” some time ago, the only one I had left was … me! It was my turn to share my story, my experiences, my reflections on my own discipline. I realized that people were also interested in my way of doing things, not just my images. I also realized that sharing my tricks provided me even greater satisfaction than just showing my pictures.

Today, I am more determined than ever to take new risks and work differently to keep the flame alive. Although I love what I do, I need new projects and challenges to keep me stimulated and creative. And speaking of challenges, I’ll let you know my next one, I promise!

P.S. Thanks to Alex for trusting me by allowing me to join his adventure once again. I’m sure I’ll have the pleasure of photographing him on the first steps of the podium very soon. Thanks also to Jérémie, Stephany and Ariane for your warm welcome at the gym!