Julie Angel / Tara Robinson

Women are not often seen in active motion, doing tricks. This is connected to the general stereotype of women being fragile, soft and sensual creatures, who only exist in the shadow of a man. This image however, shows strength, movement and muscles.


Julie Angel, USA

julieangel.com

Julie is the founder of See&Do, a globally ambitious project to promote inclusivity in movement cultures: Changing perceptions of Who does what and where, one photo at a time. Artist – Filmmaker, photographer, writer, academic of the world’s first parkour themed PhD, Julie currently lives in Austin, USA, although she originally comes from Plymouth in the UK. Julie states she doesn’t have a bucketlist, instead she embraces life in each moment and claims to like the calm and controlled, not the intensity or drama – something that might be quite rare for people attracted to the action sports lifestyle.
“I like sharing stories about people who move and about movement cultures. I love See&Do: Because it’s not about the elite athletes- it’s about
contributing to a playing field where everyone can be visible and participate.”
When and why did you get in to photography?
“My friend and photographer Andy Day showed me how to use my camera properly for stills, whereas before I used it for filming. I can produce so many more photos in the same time that I would produce just one video edit. Right now photography speaks to me, and I’m listening.”

 

What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I like working with artists. I like moving. I train parkour, MovNat (a modern update of Methode Naturelle – running, jumping, crawling, climbing, combatives, aquatics, throwing catching, balancing) and surf whenever I can.”

 

Who is you biggest inspiration in life? Why?
“No single individual could possibly hold such a role when so many are so great.”

 

What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“I think it’s lame in this day and age. Media editors have a lot to answer for. Monkey see monkey do. Monkey don’t see, monkey don’t do.”

 

How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“Visibility- normalize the imagery in a visually dominant society.”

 

What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“That it’s hyper masculinity fades!”
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“They think I’m nice.”

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are
connected?
“My body is very cool, it’s mine, it works really well, no issues.”

 

Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“I could write another PhD, but I’m too lazy and there’s not enough space: Too complex and big a question to answer in a small box.”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Just move. Health is freedom, movement is health.”
 

Tara Robinsson, UK

www.tararobinson.co.uk

Tara is a freelance director and theater maker active in London, who runs a little company called The Conker Group. When she's not doing that, she is enjoying movement and motion. A lot. Usually, she calls it Parkour. She started with Parkour after seeing a video four years ago, and today Tara is excited to be giving back to others who are discovering the joy of movement.
"I move because it makes me happy. That is a very simple sentence for an absolutely massive thing."
This shot was taken in Pimlico, London, where a group of women had gathered for a women’s Parkour Jam. The photographer Julie Angel had begun a movement to document and share more images of women training, because of a belief that when women SEE, they are more encouraged to DO- the See&Do project.

 

What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I saw a Parkour video online and started watching more videos quite obsessively. I couldn’t believe there was a sport that I didn’t know about that combined creativity and grace with challenge, being outside and moving dynamically. I discovered that there were some women training Parkour in London and I sought them out. Once I began training I became addicted to the nature of the discipline. It’s about looking for challenges and working towards them, sometimes in that session, sometimes over weeks or a year. I think only about my body and my environment when I’m training, and I find that clarity of thought extremely refreshing and repeatedly energizing.”

 

What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“In our discipline we probably have intense moments within every single training session so it’s hard to think of one stand-out moment. Each time we find a jump that we know we can make but are afraid to do, that conversation with the brain begins. It can be torturous, but ‘breaking’ the jump eventually, achieving the challenge, is beautiful. It’s probably a little addictive too…”

 

How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“I know when I was teenager I would never have tried Parkour, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to fail and bail. In my teens I became incredibly conscious of my body.
I think one of the ways we can encourage more girls to participate in our particular sport is to document ourselves moving so that a narrative of female movement emerges. This narrative should include how we fail and how we build on that too, not only on how we achieve.
Another thing I think we can do is chat to the men who participate too. Some of the men I train with are already aware of how the girls they train with are usually in the minority, and might say to each other “don’t be that guy”. They’re referring to the guy who gravitates towards the new girl to try and help, train or coach her, the guy who overly congratulates her on something that wasn’t that difficult for her, the guy who starts a sentence with “are you sure you can…”, the guy who is very sweet but makes her feel like she is getting more attention than anyone else. This attention might seem harmless; but serves to make girls even more aware of themselves as girls in a male environment… and however warm-heatedly the attention is meant, it’s unhelpful.
We also need to tackle this idea that muscles are not feminine, that if you do “too much” you’ll get “bulky”. This photo got quite a lot of comments about how muscular my arms look. I love my arms because of what they can do. And I’d love for other women to think about muscle in this way. It’s going to be tricky to get there though.”

 

What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“That doing Parkour automatically makes me really cool. That I do flips.”
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
“Yes. My arse. I hate it. But have been making some peace with it recently after going to Bikram yoga and having communal showers. As utterly bizarre as that sounds, I have discovered that every woman in that shower has cellulite. But I’ve never seen that before. Seeing is believing.”

 

What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“There is only one thing that I would say is common among people who practice Parkour, and it’s a playful or slightly off the wall spirit. Aside from this, there is nothing that makes someone fit in or not apart from the willingness to try. Genuinely, I train with all sorts!”