He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: Event Photography At Wrestlereunion 2012

Event photography is always tough. The photographer needs to get all of the big shots or the client is disappointed about the entire collection. While I cover about thirty big events at the school every year, I do my best to avoid events like weddings or parties because the stress is overwhelming. However, today was Wrestleunion 2012 in Toronto, and my brother arrived in the city with his friends to attend in full force. Scott has always been a HUGE Rowdy Roddy Piper fan, and much of my childhood was spent getting hit from behind with chairs or being put in sleeper holds, so I had to go along with the boys to cover their day the best I could.

The key with event photography is to carry a big flash with a diffuser. I avoid using flash, so you can see the dilemma. I had been hoping that the venue would have the area lit well, as they permitted fans to take photos for a cost. Nope. Fortunately, the Canon EOS 1DmkIII takes about 10fps and my Photoshop skills can usually compensate for weak lighting. The big photo: Scott Chandler playing his bagpipes with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Seeing Scott’s hero not only let him play the ridiculous instrument, but joining along in the actual playing was hilarious and almost inspirational. Did I get the shot? I would have to say yes.

The Honkey Tonk Man was also in the house, so we had to machine gun shoot a few images with him, because the lighting kept changing in that particular corner. The key is to get a decent smile, clarity and central framing so that there is no doubt what the subject is. I took out the giant exit sign with Photoshop and cooled the colours with cross-processing in ColorEFX 4.0

Getting into the small ring was apparently not permitted, but that did not stop us from entering and snapping off a few well-placed shots. This one is my favourite because it harkens back to the classic eighties faces made by the wrestlers of the day, and shows how much these guys enjoy each other’s company. If I had not captured this image, then the day’s coverage would be poorer.

Final shot: Joey being pummelled by Scott’s crutch. Tough shot because they were nervous being in the ring – we were not allowed – and my lens was focusing strange due to the lighting and distances. Still, I really like the texture of the floor, the impact of the framing and the good, honest fun. Was it a good day? Any time that I can share time with people I care about and capture what is important to them – and what would be lost or of poor quality without my camera – then, yes; yes it was a good day.

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