Last week I took pictures for my friend/ teacher's website. Carmen Fitzgibbon is yogini who teaches at Yoga Works Studios in Los Angeles. I met Carmen about ten years ago when I was practicing yoga on a regular basis at Yoga Works. Before she made the decision to dedicate herself to the teaching and practicing yoga she worked as a stylist, one time working with me on a shoot. Since I am no longer living in central L.A. I am, unfortunately, not taking as many yoga classes. It's of not just my opinion that the best yoga teachers and practitioners are located in Los Angeles. I didn't know that I had been spoiled by the quality of teaching in L.A. until I've looked into classes near where I live.
Yoga is like so many other auxiliary businesses manifested in Los Angeles by the entertainment industry. I would dare to guess that more than 50% of the yoga teachers in Los Angeles were one time aspiring actors. I don't mention that to be critical of them, their life paths, and certainly not yoga. I state this belief to give reason to why the concentration of quality yoga in Los Angeles is so great. Actors are always seeking ways to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual selves, and practicing yoga is an encompassing pursuit that improves one's mind, body, and soul. If I'm eating properly, limiting my alcohol consumption, and practicing yoga 3 times a week I am at my best.
Photographing Carmen performing a variety of asanas was an enjoyable and inspiring project. The challenge was to optimally position my camera to make her poses look technically perfect. This was a challenge because as Carmen says, she is an alignment junkie. There are a variety of yoga practices from Hatha to Bikrams, the one that Carmen comes from is Iyengar where posture and position are paramount, and workout and sweating are secondary. Every serious yogi at one time or another practices a form of Iyengar to technically improve their poses and complete their practice.
Viewing the images with Carmen after the shoot reminded me of my own pursuit of perfection with photography. What appeared to me to be a perfect pose, Carmen would point out that her big toe was not touching the ground, a no no. Overall Carmen was happy with the work, however; the next time she has photographs taken of her poses she wants another Iyengar alignment junkie on set to make sure her poses are text book. In the meantime this out of shape yogi is inspired to get his butt back in class.