About Bill Comstock Photography
Since moving to Venice in 2000, I worked as a staff photographer with most of the major bodybuilding publications in the United States, including Iron Man Magazine, Muscular Development, and FLEX. I live a couple of blocks from Gold’s Gym, “The Mecca of Bodybuilding”, where I have shot hundreds of bodybuilders professionally. The primary challenge for me as a photographer is not contriving shots, but being in the moment. Photography is all about laying yourself open to the experience of seeing, whether it’s in a crowded gym or some remote spot like Tinker Creek. “Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child–our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)
A gym is not the place for glamour shots
Above everything else, I want my pictures to be truthful. I shoot with natural light only, and have a vérité style that emphasizes realism in the gym. My goal is to capture you in a living environment; to make you really come to life. In my opinion, there is nothing sexy or chic about working out; it’s blood and guts, and my shots of women training look as authentic as the pics I take of guys.
In my work I have tried to emulate the work of Art Zeller. “Artie’s wonder and keen insight bore holes in the social landscape in which he dwelled. He didn’t miss a tone or shade of the life that surrounded him. Look at his black and white photography and understand. You don’t see a paper photo, you see a story and feel a mood and hear voices and are compelled to listen. They’re a moment, still yet continuing. His honest composition takes you there and you don’t care to leave.” (Dave Draper) My goal is not to show exercise techniques or muscle porn but to depict bodybuilders and the bodybuilding sub-culture as it really exists, to tell a story about the place, the people who inhabit it, and the endeavor that drives them.
“Backstory” is the title of an audio slide show series I created in order to represent my subjects as something more than “muscleheads” or “beefcake”. Bodybuilders are often regarded as cartoon characters, and the goal of Backstory is to allow people to express who they are and why they train in their own words. I tape record an interview and add it to the images from our photoshoot.
Rates: $300 for three hours
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Bill has an exceptional skill at catching peak moments….whether action on the beach, posing on stage or in gym, or workout movements. He always puts the best interests of the athlete first.Ken Taylor
Bill Comstock hardly needs an introduction. He has been a contributing photographer to bodybuilding magazines – covering bodybuilding competitions and individual athlete profiles – for nearly three decades. His photos have appeared in IRON MAN magazine, FLEX magazine and MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT magazine – as well as a number of bodybuilding websites.
As is the case with all top level photographers in any field, Bill’s talent is his expertise in seeing what amateur photographers miss. The interesting angles, the shadows cast by natural lighting, the story-telling aspect of the backdrop, and the athletes’ individual beauty, are incorporated in Bill Comstock’s photographic brush strokes. Anyone can snap a photo – but only a photographer with a skilled artistic eye can capture a near magical essence, which ultimately makes the athlete look his absolute best.
Whether the photos are shot in the gym during an actual workout, or in elegant poses in a natural setting, Bill creates art with his photos of bodybuilders. Unlike a generic photographer who does not specialize in any one particular subject, Bill Comstock is a dedicated physique photographer. Only someone with that kind of dedication, can see and capture – in photographs or video – the aesthetic masculinity and drama that characterizes a bodybuilder. Each bodybuilder has a unique and individual essence, and that is part of Bill Comstock’s talent – recognizing an athlete’s individual essence, and capturing it in images.
I have been a competitor in the sport of bodybuilding for over forty years. I have seen the images of, and have worked with, dozens of physique photographers. I can say with all honesty, that Bill Comstock’s photos (and videos) are among the best, most artistic and most dramatic of any photographer I’ve ever seen. Ironically, other photographers – many of whom cannot come close to Bill Comstock’s quality – charge much more than Bill does. The value of Bill’s photographic services is extraordinary. Top level quality, at an extremely reasonable cost.
Bill Comstock should be the first name you consider, when planning a photo or video shoot for yourself – whether you are preparing for a bodybuilding contest, or simply wanting to record your current condition. I highly recommend Bill Comstock’s photographic services.Doug Brignole