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World Bodypainting Festival 2023

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

The World Bodypainting Festival (WBF) is my favourite annual event. I've been attending every year since 2010 and the level of creativity, artistry on show never fails to blow me away.

The event in 2023 was a bit different to previous years, as Alex (the organiser), was testing a new event format. The main event ran over 2 days, indoors, with a strong focus on the bodypainting. Prior to 2023, the WBF had typically been a 3 day event, set out in the open air, and in recent years also included large music concert acts on stage, running in parallel with the bodypainitng.

I typically rattle of 1000's of photos at the WBF. This year was no exception, in fact I think I took almost twice as many shots as last year. The new format provided a slightly more relaxed experience for the photographer. In previous events there were often decisions to be made about if and when to leave the photo area to catch the acts on stage, but this year the timetable was more "single-flow" rathe than parallel activities.

The artists and models make taking pictures at WBF both fun and relatively straightforward. The photo area is more or less a conveyor belt of activity once the models have passed through the judging area, and the main challenge is timing shots that capture good poses, typically with the models eyes on my lens - which can be a challenge with tens of other photographers trying to do the same.

One downside of the new smaller, indoor venue is the reduced capacity for creativity in the shooting, or easy ability to work with a model 1:1. At previous WBF events, photographers had more space and natural outdoor backdrops to work with, but to be fair, for most of the last 5 years or so, I always shot 90% of my photos against the black photo backdrop.

I pretty much never use flash at the WBF, and was happy to see that the constant daylight video lights were up to the job of providing sufficient light to keep it that way for me.

The stage itself was good (once the Red Bull advertising was moved) , not as high as in previous years, so less shooting up people's nostrils. I think if chairs are added next year to keep the photographers seated, it will be improved further, not just for those photographers that don't make the front row, but also for the wider audience and those videoing the event. To fit the show into 2 days, without parallel activities, the on-stage performances for some of the categories were reduced to a catwalk show, rathe than the short performances of previous years - but I think that worked OK.

I intentionally road tested my new Z mount 50mm S f/1.2 lens and was more than happy with the results. I usually love to shoot almost exclusively with my 200mm F/2.0 at the WBF, but there wasn't enough distance to the photo backdrops this year, other than for head to half-body shots, so I ended up shooting 60% with the 50mm, 20% with a 105mm f/1.4 and 20% with the 200mm f/2.0.

I'm sure my more recent purchase, post-WBF, the new Z mount 135mm Plena f71.8 will almost certainly be my main lens choice next year, if the photo area layout is the same as 2023.

And the results... here are a just a few of my favourites...

You can access my full WBF 2023 gallery via the button below.

Enjoy the photos! 🙂

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