ESPN The Magazine officially revealed the first of multiple covers for its much anticipated 2017 BODY Issue (on newsstands Friday, July 7). Second baseman Javier Baez of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs is the first featured athlete to be announced.
More than 20 athletes representing a variety of sports will be part of the ninth annual BODY Issue. Sunday’s E:60 (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) will feature a sneak preview of the issue, followed by an official reveal of the full roster of athletes who will appear in the issue.
Photographer Dylan Coulter shot the Baez cover – and other photos in the issue – using an iPhone 7 Plus. It is the first time an iPhone has been used to shoot a cover for The Magazine. Coulter, who has shot five previous ESPN Mag covers – including the WNBA20 and 2015 World Football issues, tells Front Row what it was like to shoot this latest cover with a smartphone camera and why doing it for the BODY Issue made him unusually nervous.
How was your experience shooting with iPhone as opposed to the equipment you normally use?
Initially, I was both thrilled and terrified. Thrilled about shooting my first BODY Issue and terrified that the iPhone wouldn’t take a high enough quality image. At the same time, I was excited about the challenge. We did a test shoot in New York ahead of our shoot with Javy in Arizona and thoroughly tested the camera. We found with lots of light the photo quality was incredible and the images looked great when printed at cover size.
What were the unique and challenging aspects of the shoot?
Making Javy forget he wasn’t wearing clothes! In all seriousness, shooting with an iPhone was definitely a unique experience. The fact that we were the first to use a phone camera for an ESPN cover added buzz to an already exciting shoot. I think Javy and everyone else felt that on set.
How was Baez as a photo subject?
Taking Javy’s portrait was a true pleasure. He was gracious and engaged. More than anything he was relaxed and seemed to be enjoying the shoot, which for most might not be the easiest place to get to without any clothes on!
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the video below, Baez discusses the shoot with ESPN The Magazine. In the video at the top of the post, see some more behind-the-scenes footage.