“How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality” An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.

“How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality” An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.

Long distance runner and New York-based photographer, Paulsta talks to us about his craft and why photographing athletes allows for unique representations established in the sense of realness photography provides.

Staying true to his New York environment, photographer and runner, Paulsta’s authentic and artistic portrayal of athletes within their city scape environments is providing sports photography with a fresh take. 

Showcasing what, on first glance, may appear to be a juxtaposition of interests, the harsh yet beautiful metropolis against sport, running and activity, his effortless dichotomy in truth is extremely real for the many and his work does so with a sense of purity and “realness”. Stating that photography intrinsically captures the real, his viewers are able to gaze into the realities of individuals and athletes, whether alike or not from their own.

Read the full interview and take a look at his work.

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
How has your life as a photographer changed since starting out?

Travel (when it was a thing) is more of an influence. I get to see the difference and contrasts in cities and environments. 

 

When did the idea to combine your passion for long distance running and photography happen?

I was living in Hong Kong and running with a group called Harbour Runners. It was around when Instagram allowed you to upload photos that you didn’t take with your phone, so I started to run with my DSLR camera to capture some higher quality images. It became a regular thing and provided a unique vantage point. 

 

How best would you describe your visual aesthetic?

Raw and energetic. I like making it feel like you are a part of the scene and keeping images a little less polished.

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
Do you consciously arrange the composition of your photographs?

I enjoy creating a balance in the weight of visual elements and occasionally throwing it off slightly. It’s more of a reaction to what I’m seeing, a subconscious effort when it’s all being done.

 

Energy and emotion seem to be poignant in your style of photography. What other elements do you look for when shooting?

I look to the environment, for light and shadows, or lines. I like playing with what is in the scene, if there is a strong color element or texture and bring that in. Those physical elements create a starting point for connection to space.

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
Your portrait work is captivating, do you choose who you photograph and how do you get them to open up to yourself and the lens?

I want a subject to give as much as they can, when I’m shooting I’m giving all my energy and willingness to be completely vulnerable. I also get to photograph people that I’ve known or spent time with for a while, that trust is built over time.

The juxtaposition of brickwork, lines and cityscape with movement, a softer pallet and personality in your photography is something that you do effortlessly. How have you evolved this style and is it something you deem important to your work?

I’m a product of my environment, I love to travel to different cities and absorb details that make each space unique. Getting to travel back and forth refreshes my senses to the uniqueness of spaces.

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
You have worked on some established partnerships in the sporting world. What are some of the most memorable commercial collaborations you have worked on and why?

Every time I get to work with friends I’m truly grateful. 

 

To you, what does the relationship between sport and photography achieve that other mediums cannot?

Photography has that sense of “realness”. How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality, those at the top of their game do what non-athletes find impossible. I love how photography has a similar element of working with reality but what is created can be a new one. Then blended the two allows for unique representations still founded in that realness. 

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
Why do you think it is impactful to tell the stories of athletes and sports men and women?

We are beings of our body, it’s always interesting to see the many ways that athletes dedicate themselves to reach their goals. That kind of consistency parallels how artists need to show up and work. If we look at sports as a metaphor in life we realize it’s all uncertain but still in our control to pursue our best selves. 

 

In the current global circumstances, what are the biggest challenges you are facing?

For a while it was hard to set up projects and photograph, questioning if it was safe or responsible to be doing so. Recently that uncertainty has been lifted as we’ve gotten a better understanding, testing, and now vaccines.

"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com
"How athletes perform and train, they essentially create reality" An Interview with photographer, Paulsta.
Photo: Paulsta Photography. paulsta.com

Paulsta is a long distance runner and photographer based in New York and Seoul. See more of his work or contact him for a travel assignment via his website.

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