The Olympics turns athletes into bona fide stars. Such is the case with 17-year old Chloe Kim who took the gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe with a near perfect score. Kim has been dominant on the snowboard stage for many years, but the ebullient daughter of Korean immigrants captured the hearts of millions around the world with offbeat tweets combined with athletic prowess.
Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I'm getting hangry
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 13, 2018
Let’s review the gold medal winning run, shall we?
Before her Olympics debut, Kim was already racking up the magazine covers. Let’s take a look!
Ramona Rosales did the honors for ESPN W with a tight portrait of Kim clutching some goggles as a part of a larger set of photos shot for the feature. Rosales’s portrait photography features a muted, pastel-influenced palette, and she uses a lens flare like blur in her corners which gives her images a dreamy quality.
Kim’s portrait is lit with a very soft light, but there’s still directionality to it (note the shadow of Kim’s nose on camera right). The reflections in Kim’s eyes tell us that Rosales uses either a big reflector or large softbox to provide fill.
Here are a few other images from the shoot:
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@chloekimsnow by me @ramona_rosales for @espn ❄️🇺🇸🏂🇰🇷❤️⚡️This was such a fun project with an amazing #teamusa athlete who is definitely one to watch at 2018 Winter Olympics. Chloe is taking snowboarding to the next level and is all around mega awesome. Thanks team @espnmag 💯more to come! #chloekim #espnmag #espn #snowboarding #winterolympics2018 #peyongchang2018 #espnmagazine #ramonarosales
Over at Sports Illustrated Kids, Thomas Lovelock photographed the cover image against a backdrop of snow covered mountains. The highlights on the snowboard and Kim’s nose suggest a fill flash, which would make sense on a very bright outdoor shoot. It’s a much more conventional cover image that is very “approachable” in keeping with the kid demographic. How do you like the snow on the SI logo???
Verdict: The Rosales photo has better production – in part because she created the image in the studio – but also because I believe Rosales had a clearer vision of what she wanted. Ironically, Lovelock’s image better conveys Kim’s youth, which is an integral part of her story. In trying to create a more stylized image, Rosales’s cover image misses the fun part of Kim’s personality, which is apparent in some of her other shots.