With the recent publication of ESPN The Magazine‘s Fifth Annual “Body Issue,” Front Row caught up with Nancy Weisman, deputy photo editor with The Mag for the last 13 years.
“Fortunately in Year 1, we built a level of trust and in the second year we made the transition to have athletes completely nude,” said Weisman, who has worked on all five editions of the issue. “Now, five years later we see the evolution. Athletes are excited to be part of the “Body Issue.” It’s impressive, sexy and fun.”
She shares her behind-the-scenes perspective on the 2013 edition, featuring personal photographs of subjects including NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, MLB star Giancarlo Stanton, NBA forward Kenneth Faried, and NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force. Weisman also names two athletes she would like to see in a future “Body Issue,” and her five favorite five shoots.
What are your favorite stories from the 2013 edition shoots?
The best stories really are just being able to spend time with such amazing, wonderful, talented people, in sometimes extraordinary locations. Collaborating with the athletes, brilliant photographers, set designers, prop stylists, and video teams on the “Body Issue” brings about immeasurable pleasure. The process is six months long and it’s a tremendous amount of work and travel, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
We painted [Miami Marlins star] Giancarlo Stanton gold like a statue. It was his idea and he was very into it — it was something we saved for last. It took almost an hour for the makeup artist to paint his entire body. He looked amazing. After the shoot was over, he went to shower off in the studio’s private shower. He was in there for a very long time.
We planned on shooting Courtney Force in two locations. The first was on a road in the middle of the [Mojave] desert [in San Bernardino County, Calif.]. After that set up, we were scheduled to drive over to El Mirage Dry Lake bed. Just as we were about to head over, we got a call from the production office that El Mirage was closed.
We had all the proper permits but for some reason they were not allowing us to shoot there. We were in a calmed panic as our best shots — Courtney with the parachute — were to take place there. After we’d just about given up hope, we got the call that they would allow us to shoot there. . . The best shots of Courtney took place there.
In honor of the fifth annual Body Issue, name five sports figures you would love to see in future Body issues.
[Houston Rockets center] Dwight Howard, because the first year he would not get naked and his body is extraordinary; [Minnesota Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson for the same reason. Those are off the top of my head. I’m still overwhelmed with what we just completed, so it’s hard for me to think about 2014 just yet!
What are Weisman’s five favorite Body Issue shoots of all-time? Visit ESPN Front Row’s Facebook page for her answers.