The International Tennis Federation commissioned the 140-page Aspire Inspire book to celebrate the presence of worldwide tennis champions at the London 2012 Olympics. The book was launched during the Wimbledon 2012 fortnight and an online version has been produced to go live as the Olympics begin.
What did the job entail?
Photographers travelled to China, Paris and Melbourne over 10 months to shoot 36 of the world’s top tennis players with their childhood photographs. The theme of the book was based on the sport stars’ inspiration as children. A total of 3,000 books were produced and distributed to players, National Olympic Committees, the Wimbledon museum and FIFA among other sports federations. One limited edition book is also offered to competition winners every day from now until the end of the Olympic Tennis Event.
How was it produced?
Photographs were augmented using Adobe Photoshop 3’s Lightroom effect to harmonise with the fresh look of the book.
The book was printed in 12pp sections, creating 24 sets of plates. London-based printer Cousin output 110 B1 plates in 4- or 5-colour on a 10-colour Heidelberg 102 across 16 hours.
Cousin used 50,000 sheets of Amadeus Primo Silk to produce the books, which consisted of 300gsm covers and 200gsm text paper. The cover featured an 8-page pull-out section which needed to be flush to the text so Cousin pre-trimmed the threadsewn text sections before printing on the cover pages.
The outer covers were matt laminated and spot gloss UV applied to the text. Once the books are bound, each is individually shrink wrapped and mailed to the recipient.
What challenges were overcome?
With the current travelling pressures and hectic schedules of the players in the lead-up to Wimbledon and the Olympic games, deadlines were stretched. Editor Emily Forder-White said that asking the models to search through childhood albums and scan 300dpi photographs to send to the ITF was a difficult task when the players were very rarely at home.
The photography team decided to recreate a picture of an infant Stanislas Wawrinka on holiday in Tunisia. It took them 3 hours to photograph the original in 13 pieces using a Polaroid camera, capturing each section precisely so it overlapped with the next image.
What was the feedback?
Forder-White said: "The final result was exactly how I envisaged it – striking, fresh, and attention-grabbing. The feedback from the players themselves, the tennis family, the IOC, and other sports federations around the world is testament to the quality and wow-factor of the book. It’s great to see and hear the reactions when people open the book."Tweet
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