The Metal Militia Summer Smackdown was held on July 17th & 18th, 2021 at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the photographer for this two day event. The meet was held by Rob Forell*, a rising name in the powerlifting community. The event was a smashing success housing over 60 lifters with a few performing incredible feats such as bench pressing over 1,000 pounds. The entire event was shot, edited, organized by lifter, lift type and lift attempt, and distributed to interested lifters by myself.
*Forell no longer associates himself with Metal Militia.
Finding the perfect composition required many quick adjustments made on the fly. The photo above presents Matthew Hodge performing his second squat lift of the afternoon. It was not uncommon that 5 or more spotters were required to help catch the weight in the case of a failed lift.
The contrast between the colored spotlights and the black, hardcore theme commonly found in powerlifting events provides a wide spectrum of tones and values. Natanya Talotti is seen here preparing for her second squat lift. This moment was captured after she adjusted perfectly right before the bar was lifted.
The event as a whole was extremely fast paced, with only three breaks throughout the day. That being said, even the shots in between convey the raw energy of the entire event. The contrast between the sharp weights in focus and saturated with bright colors against the blurred and dark background screams at you much like the lifters performing their incredible feats of human strength.
The constant change in lighting was also a challenge to overcome. Certain lights shone brighter than others. I captured these images with that in mind. The widest color range was emphasized as much as possible so that no image was too one-note. Heidi Howar is shone above preparing for her personal record deadlift.
Hunter Hernandez is getting in the zone for his first try out of three to beat his personal record.