Exercise makes you ugly, and other important lessons from photographer Sacha Goldberger
French photographer Sacha Goldberger assembled an indoor studio at the Bois de Bologne in Paris, a park two-and-a-half times the size of Central Park, where he stopped joggers mid-workout and asked them do a sprint and then pose for a portrait immediately afterwards. The result? We look wretched when we work out, a fact anyone whose eyes have ever wandered in the gym can attest to. But that wasn’t the only point Goldberger wanted to make. After immortalizing his subjects’ blotchy, red-faced, sweat-soaked visages on film, he asked them to come to his studio the following week, where, using the same lighting, the same pose and similarly-colored clothing he took another portrait.
The difference is startling. It’s the same person, the same light, same angle, same camera and the same photographer, but in the first photo the subjects’ hearts are racing and their bodies can barely keep up. In the second image they’re all dolled up and looking their best. “I wanted to show the difference between our natural and brute side versus how we represent ourselves to society,” Goldberger says.
I tried the Goldberger experiment on myself this morning. I snapped a pic on my iPhone in my post-workout mess of sweaty hair and shiny face and then took another after my shower, and yeah, my findings are pretty much the same. We are a species that definitely looks its best at a resting heart rate. Don’t excite us, we might get ugly.