Joey L. Scores With Lifetime's 'Gabby Douglas Story'
Lifetime sent Joey L. to Winnipeg, Canada, to photograph gymnast Gabby Douglas and actress Imani Hakim for its forthcoming movie about the Olympian.
"I needed to shoot a key visual of Gabby that could double as an image of Imani, who plays her from ages 14 to 16 in the film," explained Joey. "I decided to turn her profile, with half of her face in the dark, so the viewer isn't quite sure whether it's Gabby or Imani." He backlit the powder – "the real chalk she uses on her hands before she gets on the bars" – and left enough negative space for Lifetime to put in the title.
Lighting for this project was particularly important. "Winnipeg doesn't have a lot of gear and I could find only one background that was darker than white – a pale gray," the photographer said. "I placed it pretty far away from Gabby so it wouldn't collect any light and show up in camera as the color I wanted."
Joey called Douglas inspirational, noting, "What she does in life is much more difficult than any photo shoot, so it seemed easy for her to remain focused on set." Hakim is "super-cool, too," he added. "She was filming the same day and despite her jam-packed schedule, she was extremely patient."
"The Gabby Douglas Story" premieres on Lifetime February 1 at 8 p.m.