The 2012 Olympics — 8 Fascinating & Inspirational Photo Projects

Watching the Olympics is crazy-inspiring. Olympians train every single day of their life to claim their title as #1 in the world!

You can relate. You’ve spent hours in marathon photo-editing sessions. You finished your 365 without missing a day. You’ve even buffed up your arm from carrying your gear.

And just to keep you going, we’ve rounded up eight absolutely awesome photo projects that were inspired by the 2012 Olympics.

From portraits of lost tourists to photos of abandoned Olympic sites and incredible snaps of Olympians at home, you’ll get pumped to start bench-pressing your camera bag honing your own photo skills.

8 Great Olympics Themed Photo Projects

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Photo via REUTERS/Mike Blake

Portraits of Lost Olympics Tourists

SEE IT: paint-smYou are Here

Photographer Caroll Taveras was commissioned by creative agency Mother London to find lost tourists and take them back to a pop-up photo studio.

There, they’re refueled with refreshments and then haves their portrait shot on 4×5 Polaroid film.

The portraits will then be mounted at Mother London as “an exhibition collage–a shrine, if you will, to their humanitarian outreach endeavor of saving tourists from themselves.” [via Fast Company]

BONUS: It’s a little scary at first. Let our our guide to photographing strangers inspire you to shoot your own portraits!

Photos of Long-Abandoned Olympic Sites

paint-smSEE IT: Borrow, Build, Abandon

Jamie McGregor Smith visited Athens last year to photograph the structures used during the 2004 Olympics.

The long-abandoned spaces are empty, vast and even overgrown. It’s a little melancholy to think these once glorious and crowd-filled places are now defunct.

But like other projects that focus on urban decay, they bring awareness to how we use our resources, and how we might conserve them better in the future.

Read more about the story at The New York Times.

BONUS: Get inspired by this Flickr set of an abandoned amusement park. If you do some urban exploration of your own, do it safely!

Olympians Through a 100-Year-Old Lens

paint-smSEE IT: Olympians + a 100-Year-Old Lens

Jay L. Clendenin traveled around Southern California photographing Olympic athletes, but he didn’t just bring along his DSLR.

He also brought along a 4×5 field camera with a Petzval lens that’s over 100 years old.

Each portrait was shot on black and white photo paper, and then taken into a darkroom (his bathroom converted into a darkroom) and scanned and inverted from there.

TAKEAWAY? Bring all your cameras! Or the coolest ones, at least. That’s what this skydiver did when he shot these 4×5 photos while jumping out of an airplane.

Multiple Exposures of Olympians

paint-smSEE IT: Reuters’ Multiple Exposures

Remember that army of robot cameras that Reuters set up especially for the Olympics? This series of multiple exposure shots are a peek into what photographers–Mike Blake and Brian Snyder–were able to do with these cameras.

Armed with the new Canon 1-DX, photographers are able to take advantage of the multiple-exposure feature. It’s a bit different from layering photos in Photoshop, in that it shoots multiple frames quickly at 14 frames per second, and then puts them all together for you in-camera!

It’s pretty amazing that we can capture movement in such detail considering Olympic athletes are breaking records with their speed. Muybridge would be proud!

BONUS: So you don’t have a 1-DX, but you do have a camera! Check out our guide to capturing movement in photos with multiple exposures.

Olympics Host Cities Seen from Space

paint-smSEE IT: A Satellite’s View of the Olympics

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center released a set of photos showing host cities during their respective Olympics.

Satellites are taking photos of Earth from above on a daily basis, so they gathered these up in celebration of this years’ games. We especially dig the ones shot at night!

BONUS: Getting to space isn’t easy, but the next closest thing is sending your $40 digital camera up into space on a weather balloon! See our guide to aerial balloon photography. Here’s another on using weather balloons.

Illegal Olympics

paint-smSEE IT: Photos of Illegal Use of “Olympics”

Apparently, it’s illegal to use the term “Olympics” and any Olympics branding without authorization. You can read more about that here.

So, photographer Craig Atkinson decided to start documenting illegal uses of the Olympics brand around London, and well, it’s oddly entertaining, endearing, and great.

BONUS: You can contribute your own photos (email him here) as Craig will be compiling a collection for a book.

Athlete’s Meals in Photographs

paint-smSEE IT: My Day on a Plate

Athletes have strict diets, so haven’t you wondered what they eat on a daily basis? Designer Sarah Parker and photographer Michael Bodiem re-imagined athlete’s meals based off meals that Olympian nutritionists recommend.

Each plate in the series shows what an Olympian would eat in a day, 15 to 25 portions of healthy eats amounting to over 2,000 calories. Pictured to the right is the diet recommended for a gymnast!

BONUS: Neatly organized food is the jam. (Ha! Get it?) Here’s more inspiration from Carl Kleiner’s beautifully arranged food that appeared in the Ikea cookbook.

Olympians at Home

paint-smSEE IT: Olympians at Home for Time

Renown photographer Martin Schoeller followed Gabby Douglas (gymnastics), Lolo Jones (track), and Ryan Lochte (swimming) while they practiced and possibly even more interesting, while they relaxed at home.

Martin says

“I’m not even a big sports person, but athletes’ bodies are mesmerizing. They’re constantly putting themselves in pose and doing something interesting with the physical expressions, and I love to photograph them because they’re natural performers at heart.”

BONUS: Dancers Among Us follows dancers around New York City. Elegant and talented folks galavanting about the city makes for some gorgeous shots.

Even More