Telling a story through yoga photography, with Robert Sturman
For this episode, I sat down with Robert Sturman. Robert is a dedicated yoga practitioner and photographer capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of yoga in his work. His stunning repertoire of portraits runs the gamut from yogis perched on rocks surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, to African orphans practicing yoga in Kenya, to breast cancer survivors, bare-chested and scarred. In addition, Sturman has worked extensively photographing war veterans who have embraced the practice of yoga to heal PTSD, first responders and more. He has been an Official Artist of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2008 United States Olympics.
Listen to the full episode here :
MY 5 BIGGEST TAKE-AWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
1- Photography is a way to pay attention, recognize, see, and acknowledge to the person you look at.
2 - Photography can be like positive propaganda. You can share new ideas that will become the norm. You can change the world through the images you take. It's the most influential form of communication.
3 - Yoga simply helps you make better choice. Yoga is for anybody and everybody, anywhere and everywhere.
4 - Being an artist is different than being a photographer.
5 - Never look down on anyone. When you photograph someone. Be eye to eye, on your subject's level. It's a sign of respect!
QUESTIONS HE ANSWERED DURING THIS EPISODE:
Why do you choose to showcase yoga in your photography?
How do you tell a story through a still image?
Does the subject and the story you choose to tell change the power of the art piece?
What was the idea behind your "Scars are Beautiful" Portfolio? What drew you to breast cancer survivors?
Why do cancer survivors wanted to do these shoots? What was their intentions?
Which prisons have you visited and photographed?
You say that “everything you know about the essence of photography, I learned from working in prisons” Can you explain that?
Is the camera a way for you to share what you see so more people can see it?
What was your intention about photography the military and first responders doing yoga.
You photographed for the Africa Yoga Project and made and did a photographic essay for the New York times about it. What did this portfolio and your trip to Nairobi teach you? Did it change your perspective on yoga in any way?
What inspires you right now? What would you like to see more represented?
How do you feel about everybody being a “photographer” now?
Any tips to take better photos?
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
A dedicated yoga practitioner, photographer Robert Sturman has increasingly focused on capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of asana in his work.
His portraits, whether set in the lively streets of Manhattan, the expansive beaches and canyons of Malibu, the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, the timeless elegance of Walden's New England, or the bleakness of San Quentin Prison, remind us that there is beauty everywhere.
His stunning repertoire runs the gamut from yogis perched on rocks surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, to African orphans practicing yoga in Kenya, to breast cancer survivors, bare-chested and scarred. In addition, Sturman has worked extensively photographing war veterans who have embraced the practice of yoga to heal PTSD, in an effort to help change the heartbreaking statistics of veteran suicides each day.
In Sturman's own words, "I often think of Rumi's words 'I can't stop pointing to the beauty.' That feels right to me." Sturman's honors include Official Artist of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards, 2010 FIFA World Cup Artist Representing America, and Official Artist 2008 United States Olympics. Sturman has been the subject of two separate New York Times articles celebrating his photographs of yoga from around the world.
Artist website: www.RobertSturmanStudio.com