Australian swimmer James “The Missle” Magnussen is a favored Olympic hopeful this year at the 2012 London Olympics. The 6’5”, 22-year-old swimmer rose to international attention when he won the 100m freestyle at the World Championships in Shanghai last year. Continuing full stride, he went on to set the fourth fastest time in history, with a time of 47.10 seconds at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Beginning semifinals today, he will race the same race that brought him international attention, except now he is fighting for an Olympic Gold Medal (something an Australian hasn’t won since 1968).
Earlier this Spring, with the 2012 London Olympics quickly approaching and gaining hype, Glasshouse Assignment photographer Adam Taylor was offered the exciting opportunity to shoot Magnussen for a Samsung Olympic Partner ad campaign. The shoot was a success, and an outdoor print of the campaign is now featured in incredible size, scaling the entire front side of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney.
While the massive ad displays a strong presence in itself, Adam Taylor’s ability to capture the intensity, passion, and determination of the young swimmer is eye-catching and dynamic. And speaking about both Magnussen and campaign, Taylor portrayed just as much enthusiasm. “We’d swim for James!” Taylor stated.
With the Men’s 100m freestyle finals beginning today and running through tomorrow (Magnussen made it through the first round this morning, and will swim in semifinals this afternoon), we thought it would be a great opportunity to interview Taylor about his experience of of the campaign and shooting with the Olympic hopeful.
GHA: How did this campaign come about?
AT: The art buyer from Leo Burnett reached out to me, and then I had conversations with the creatives – Art directors Justin Carew and Sharon Edmondston– they were wonderfully talented and insightful.
GHA: What was the most challenging aspect of the shoot?
AT: Getting what we wanted to achieve within a very limited time frame. We were working alongside the making of the TVC and there were time restraints.
GHA: What was something interesting you found out about James Magnussen?
AT: He trains on a predominantly protein diet…eggs, meat, fish, chicken.
GHA: Where did the shoot take place?
AT: At Sydney Aquatic Centre.
GHA: What was the creative idea behind the photo shoot?
AT: To create a dynamic, powerful and defined portrait of James Magnussen as he goes into the 2012 Olympic Games.
GHA: Was there anything else that particularly stood out to you about this shoot?
James’s physique, and how the women on set appreciated it…:-)
While Magnussen and his Australian teammates unexpectedly lost in the Men’s 400m Relay last Sunday, many are hopeful that he will be able to perform different results in the individual Men’s 100m freestyle finals, beginning today and running through tomorrow. With “the missle’s” renowned backend speed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Magnussen is able to make a grand comeback.