Jet Li does not need a Trampoline!

I love photography books, and one i recently purchased was “Lighting and the dramatic portrait”, by Michael Grecco.

One of the stories he tells is of photographing Jet Li.  Preparing for the shoot, he brought along lots of gear, just in case; this included a fog machine for atmosphere, a wind machine to have the shirt in the right place, and a trampoline to make the jumps bigger.  He was explaining his ideas to Jet Li through a translator, and the translator was giving him funny looks.  The translator told Jet Li what Michael Grecco said, and the response came back, “Jet Li does not need a trampoline”.  Grecco argues, that Jet Li has to jump very high, has to do it many times, and has to look fresh and handsome every time.  More translation, and back and throw conversation, then the translator turns to Grecco and says, “Jet Li does not need a trampoline”.  After a third time they start shooting.  According to Michael Grecco, “JET LI DOES NOT NEED A TRAMPOLINE!”

Jet Li by Michael Grecco for People Magazine


1 Response to “Jet Li does not need a Trampoline!”

  1. January 6, 2011 at 12:13 am

    As a Jet Li fan I found this to be very interesting. When I (and many fans) watch martial arts movies there is always a question as to how much of the action is the product of natural virtusoity and how much is the product of technology. It is gratifying to have an instance of Li’s natural virtuosity confirmed (as in this blog). Li has been blessed with extraordinary kinetic abilities and had the luck to be exposed to rigorous training as a youngster.

    I am happily devolving into flabby middle age now but as a young adult I worked as a dancer and was pretty damned fit. I did 2 photoshoots that required me to perform a jump continuously. In one I did a split jump off a concrete floor (no trampoline!) for 3 hours without a break. I didn’t injure myself but I could barely walk by the end and never spoke to the photographer again (he was an ungrateful, rude bastard). The second photoshoot was done with the use of a trampoline and, while tiring, was definitely easier on the body. Trampoline or no trampoline, it’s such a challenge to hit that position at the height of the jump every time. But this is what you should be doing in live performance anyway so working with photographers can actually be a useful experience. During my training my ballet teachers used to tell us to imagine that we could be photographed at any given moment and to make sure our movements and positions were clear and defined enough to be able to produce a good image at any given time.

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