Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Body In Motion: Atlanta Roller Girls

This series of photographs are dedicated to showing real derby skater bodies without pretense and without apology.  Our focus is on scrimmage time, where the real practice happens.  The game play is real.  The sweat is real.  The hits are real.  This set features skaters from Atlanta Rollergirls.  Additional photos can be found on Cory’s Flickr album.  Get future updates on Facebook by following The Rollergirl Project.


In the mirror, I tend to see someone who could always lose a little here or there or fix this or that, but these pictures help me to realize that all my “extras” have a purpose.

- Puns of Steel, 3 year veteran







Working with these incredible people in practice several days a week, every week, it can be hard to remember that they might struggle to see themselves the way I see them. We all struggle with insecurities and fears, but when I see my teammates I see champions. I see the work they have put into themselves, their commitment, their improvement. I hope that with photos like these, my teammates get to see more of these things in themselves, if they don't already.

- Switchcraft, 1 year veteran


In me I see:  Strength, Determination, Relentlessness, Intellect, Confidence

- Gucci Maim, 5 year veteran




Looking back, the times I felt the worst about myself, I looked fabulous. I didn't want that same feeling to keep me from taking advantage of this opportunity. Years from now, I'm going to look back and wish I looked the way I do in those pictures.

- Git Off My Lawn, 8 year veteran




I wanted to prove to myself that I don't care what others may say, I am happy to be built just as I am.

- Nipsy, 1 1/2 year veteran

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gravity 2017


Roller derby skaters have a very special relationship with both gravity and concrete.  Whether it is the graceful jump over the apex for a grand slam, or the hard collision of bodies into a tangle of limbs, derby can be a chaotic aerial ballet.  Fynch, assisted by her partner Kaa, returns to rig skaters into frozen tangle of limbs and bodies as we explore this relationship.

This is the second entry in the Gravity series, a collaboration between Fynch and Cory to create a living sculptures that are both static and dynamic.  The first set in the series can be found here

Additional photos can be found at ClayMan Photography on Flickr.


Click here to see the first part of this series.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Body In Motion: Clarksville

This series of photographs are dedicated to showing real derby skater bodies without pretense and without apology.  This set is a pickup game between Team Black and Team Rainbow.  The sweat is real.  The hits are real.  The points are real. 

This set features skaters from delightful hosts, the ClarksVillain Roller Girls along with skaters from the West Kentucky Rockin' Rollers and the Nashville Rollergirls.  Additional photos can be found on Cory’s Flickr album.  Get future updates on Facebook by following The Rollergirl Project.




I'm proud of the things I've had the courage to try and the things I've accomplished at 46. It's how you feel. Not a judgement about what I "should" be doing at 46.

- Peaches & CreamYa, West Kentucky Rockin' Rollers


The reason I did this it was not for myself originally... If it was for me, I would have been at home but I have always been one to talk the talk that plus size ladies can play Roller Derby and it's hard for me to pass up a derby opportunity , especially hosted by my own team that I'm president and head of training and to know i could possibly Inspire or give someone the courage to step out of their comfort zone and realizing someone like me can do it they can do it as well. Was a good enough reason for me to dive out of my comfort zone no matter how uncomfortable I was ...I am in the best shape of my teenage/adult life ...whatever shape that might be... I will be honest and say that I actually did cry when I first saw the pictures... ive never been so vulnerable in my life and this photo shoot in the end taught me more lessons than I ever expected to learn... to love the body you're in ...embrace it... it can do amazing things.... there's no need to hide it this is me.  I'm not for everybody and that's ok as long as I love me at the end of the day

- BeastMode, ClarksVillians Roller Girls, 4 year veteran


As I went through these pictures I want to tell my team mates that they are beautiful! I saw pics of girls bigger than me doing things that I've heard people say " yeah Shiny can do that cause she's so small". Amazing skill knows no size, nor does beauty.

- Terrorize & Shiny, ClarksVillians Roller Girls, 3 year veteran


I know some of the skaters in my group did not feel good about the pictures. I'm not sure what they expected to see, but I really just want to encourage us all to put these pictures into context. None of us looked our best. That's why we don't usually go on dates immediately after scrimmages. But we do look strong and powerful and tough. Be proud of those things. Be proud of your athleticism and all the awesome things you can do with your body.

- Fleur De Lethal, Nashville Roller Girls, 3 year veteran




One of the things that stood out most to me as I was preparing for this photo shoot was the difference between the recommendations for making one's body look good for pictures (like fitness models) vs. the recommendations for preparing for a scrimmage in very hot and humid conditions (roller derby athletes). In a nutshell, a fitness model would lower their caloric intake to about 10 calories per lb about 10 days before the shoot, and in the days leading up to the shoot, they would lower their carbs, eat no salt whatsoever, and only drink about half as much water as normal (as little as 250 mL on the day of the shoot) to basically dehydrate themselves so their muscles look tighter. An athlete performing in these conditions, however, would want to increase their carbs in the days leading up to this event drink more water, and have more salt and electrolytes on that day to help with hydration. Realizing this made me realize how crazy it is that so many athletes I know have a negative image of themselves because they're comparing themselves to models.

It also made me really proud of myself that I chose to be an athlete over being a model on this day. Sometimes, I get compliments on how I look, and it can be hard to not mentally turn those compliments into expectations. There was definitely a time when, for the sake of looking good on camera, I would have risked all the horrible things I'm sure would have happened to me if I'd tried to prepare for this like a fitness model. But 3 days before the shoot, as I sat down to a meal of baked salmon, roasted potatoes, and green beans, all with some amount of salt, haha, I was just excited to get to skate with some of my favorite people one more time before I moved to a different state. Being derby strong isn't just a physical thing. Derby can change your mentality, too. I'm more appreciative for that than anything else.

- Fleur De Lethal, Nashville Roller Girls, 3 year veteran


I love my teammates. Do they have the "perfect" body? Well, yes, they do. In rollerderby there isn't one body type that fits the perfect mold for a skater. Some of us are tall and thin, others short and round. Guess what? They are both awesome! And, the thin one isn't always the jammer ether. Some of the best jammers I know are heavy set. And some really amazing blockers are short and thin. Any body type can be amazing at derby. Pre kids, post kids, short, tall, thin, thick, athletic background, or none, you can be amazing at roller derby too. It just takes hard work and dedication. So, if you think you don't have the body for derby, look again. Take a look at these pictures and know that you can do this too. My teammates are bad asses and I love them all dearly.

- Seam Ripper, Nashville Roller Girls, 2 year veteran



I'm making a real effort to not be so critical in the mirror. Derby has been a huge part of that. Now my critical eye sees the strength and athleticism others may not see. And yeah, to those outside the derby community, I may not look like an athlete. But I know I am. My teammates know I am. And anyone I get to hit on the track knows I am. And that makes the mirror a little less harsh.

- Deathalopod, ClarksVillians Roller Girls, 2 1/2 year veteran




My stretch marks and sagging skin doesn't stop me from placing myself in front of a jammer. Cellulite doesn't stop my legs from pushing themselves and trying to maneuver around blockers. My physical appearance doesn't make me happy, but it doesn't stop me from doing what I gotta do on the track.

- Megabyte, ClarksVillians Roller Girls, 1 1/2 year veteran




I have very little shame when it comes to my body. I don't like my tummy but that's not going to stop me from wearing a bikini (or sports bra and undies). I wish we could all be more comfortable in our skin. While at this photo shoot I heard so many voicing concerns over their body image, but our bodies did all the amazing things on the track! Our shapes and sizes give us each our own individual advantages. Some of us are faster while others are bulldozers lol. Embrace your body and embrace your ability

- Terrorize & Shiny, ClarksVillians Roller Girls, 3 year veteran

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Body In Motion: Bloomington

This series of photographs are dedicated to showing real derby skater bodies without pretense and without apology.  This set is a pickup game between Team Black and Team Rainbow.  The sweat is real.  The hits are real.  The points are real. 

This set features skaters from our wonderful hosts Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby.  Participating leagues include A-Town Roller Derby, Arch Rival Roller Derby, Circle City Derby Girls, Demolition City Roller Derby, DuPage Derby Dames, Illiana Derby Dames, Lafayette Brawlin Dolls, and Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.  Additional photos can be found on Cory’s Flickr album.  Get future updates on Facebook by following The Rollergirl Project.


[These skaters] are beautiful at any shape or size.

- B-Squared, A-Town Roller Roller Derby, new skater




I started to zero in on my own flaws. But I noticed that other people may be looking at the same thing on their bodies and thinking the same thing. Then I noticed despite my flaws that everyone looked incredible and strong from the thin body types to the heavier ones we all have parts which are amazing and we are all playing an incredibly difficult sport. I was also happy to see my hearing aids in the photos because deaf and hard of hearing athletes can be just as competitive as hearing athletes.

- Diamond Dog, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby, new skater



My body has changed so drastically over the last four years and while the rest of the world sees it and my rational mind knows it (when you can no longer purchase a size 26 and 14's are the new you), I thought this may solidify more of a heart change.

- Knock'r Down, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby, 9 year veteran






We've all been told that we need to draw attention away from problem areas, that we're too big or too small or the wrong shape or not "toned" enough or too muscular. But in that moment on the track, we're not thinking about whether or not we look good. We're using our bodies to get stuff done. We're working together. We have points to score. We have walls to break through. We need to get lower, jump higher, hit harder, get across the track faster. And I hope you can see that we're having a great time.

Rocket Docket, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby, 3 year veteran


I didn't know how I would react when I saw the photos. I've always been extremely critical of my body and used to do destructive things to myself in order to look a certain way. I would avoid being in pictures and, when I did appear, I would stare at the photo and all of my glaring imperfections with self-hatred. I'm slowly recovering from that and roller derby has been so important in my journey. Derby taught me that exercise is not a punishment and its goal is not to change my body. Instead, I exercise with my teammates and I do it to be a better athlete. I look in the mirror and see muscles, bruises, and some jiggle. But that doesn't matter. So when I saw the photos, I was shocked that I didn't feel any shame. I didn't stare at my stomach or pore over my body. I see myself in the photos, no different from how I look at practice, at home, or at work. And that makes me so happy, and so grateful.

ShenAnakin Skywalker, Illiana Derby Dames, 3 year veteran



I have always been small and underweight. The way our society works right now so many people associate "skinny" with being healthy. I used to think that way too. I am still very small but when I look in the mirror and see the muscle definition that didn't used to be there I am reminded of every single work out and every single practice I pushed myself through in order to make myself into a better skater. My body can do things it never used to be able to do. Things I never expected it to do. It has been amazing to learn what I am capable of. Now I know, just like being overweight doesn't automatically make you unhealthy or lazy, being skinny doesn't automatically make you the picture of health either.

Banjo Brawler, Circle City Rollergirls, 5 year veteran


When I look down at my body or see myself in the mirror, I see something totally different than when I see myself in these photos. It's mostly the physical shape of my body - I never see myself from afar like everyone else does. I never see my own body entirely, at once, and in motion like others do. It's surreal in a way to see these photos and think that I almost look like a different person than I see when I view myself from within my own body.

- CupQuake, Arch Rival Roller Derby, 7 year veteran