Fit for Purpose

Charting the Diversity of Perfect Athletic Bodies

After viewing this series of images, we’re asking, why the ‘Athletic Type’ even a thing?

Bodies, a project by photographer Paul Calver and art director Gemma Fletcher, shows that there is clearly not just one type of athletic body, but rather, the human form moulds to the shapes and strengths that best serve the sport in question.

I’ve learnt that body perfection takes many forms.’

The project is a celebration of power and strength; runners, dancers, boxers and sumo wrestlers are depicted to challenge preconceived notions of what the optimum performing body might look like. It highlights that these well-honed, highly dedicated bodies are perfect for their chosen sports.

Jerome 1

Paul told us more about these Perfect Bodies:

The Plus: How did this project come about?

Paul Calver: I photograph a lot of sports people in my commercial work and am interested in what makes perfection in an athletes body and how this can result in physical extremes.

Jerome 2
Jerome 3
Jerome 4

TP: What was the technical process behind getting these shots?

PC: We spent a long time casting the correct people to explore the widest extremes in body types. Once we had found our cast we booked a studio in central london for the shoot. Myself and Gemma put together a mood board of images for inspiration and set out to create our own image style.

Mark 1
Mark 2
Neil 1

TP: How did the collaboration with Gemma Fletcher come about?

PC: The collaboration came about via a post on Instagram I made, of a magazine called kinfolk which we both admired. This got us talking about shooting a project together.

Gemma is an extremely talented Art Director. It was an exciting process working together on this self initiated brief. We started with the phrase ‘perfectly imperfect’ and worked on ideas around that. 

Neil 2
Sue 1
Sue 2

Watch them in action: