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



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Body in Motion: Naptown Roller Girls

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







Well, I have a fear of jumping. I do not like it when my feet have to leave the ground. When I saw the apex jump picture, I thought, "Holy smokes! I'm doing it!" As for my teammates, I already thought they were amazing. When we were looking at the pictures together I just said, "Look at you! Look how strong you are!". I liked that they were able to see what I see when we play.

- Flannery O'Clobber, 3 year veteran



One of the coolest things about roller derby is that there are athletes of every body type playing every position at the highest level of the sport. No one's success is limited by height, weight, or shape. I hate it when people who don't know the sport tell me I look too small or too nice to play roller derby. We scrimmaged a top 15 men's team at the beginning of the year and I got lead jammer almost every time. I might be small and I might be a woman, but I'm not weak.

- Eve Anne Hellical, 6 year veteran




This sport has challenged me to my very core, both physically and mentally. My whole life has been a fight. No one has handed me anything - I've had to work for it all, especially derby. I'm not a gifted athlete. I'm just a lady who wanted to do more than be on the radio.

- Peyton Slamming, 3 year veteran (2008, 2014-present)


TRGP-8326 I love derby for so many reasons. This is by far the most accepting community that I've ever encountered. I never feel self-conscious about my body around my teammates, even on hot days in the warehouse when we are sweating more than we could have ever imagined. Another amazing thing about derby is that it takes all shapes and sizes. When I tell people that I play roller derby, they often assume that I am too small to play (or be "good" at it.) I always take the opportunity to dispel myths about the sport. “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” – Shakespeare

- NamaSlay, 1.5 years (2 seasons) veteran




At this point in my life, I'm pretty comfortable with my body. It hasn't always been that way but I've come to understand that; no matter what I do, there are certain ways it will never look. As long as I'm leading a healthy lifestyle, I'm pretty happy with it. Seeing the original Body by Derby a number of years ago actually made a significant impact in this mentality shift. My hope, in being part of it, is to potentially inspire someone in the way that I was. To love your body for what it does more than how it looks.

- Armagayddon, 6 year veteran





I think derby is unique in that so many people are able to do it, no matter what our bodies look like. There is beauty in all our curves and bumps and dimples we have. We need to always appreciate and celebrate our bodies for what we are capable of doing with them.

- Lysis 2 Kill, 5 year veteran


To my teammates, your acts of beauty, grace and strength inspire me every day. I would not be half the player I am without you.

- Armagayddon, 6 year veteran