It’s not just cricket. It’s much, much more.
In their first foray into film, award-winning photographers Trent Parke and Narelle Autio have brought their passions for imagery and cricket together in a moving image and sound installation, which will be shown at the SALA Festival in Adelaide.
The self-funded work was filmed entirely in the couple’s South Australian backyard on a purpose-built cricket pitch, and stars their two sons as they explore the mechanics of the game’s skills.
Parke said they are a family of cricket tragics, so the topic is something very close to their hearts.
“What we’ve tried to do is lead people from the innocence of backyard cricket all the way through to the professional athlete, through the children’s eyes,” he said.
Autio said the inspiration for The Summation of Force came after conversations with their sons Jem, 12, and Dash, 10, about the physicality of cricket.
“They were asking questions about why people do things differently. Why someone can bowl faster than another person,” she said.
“So we started thinking we would film them in slow motion and actually analyse their actions and we found the visuals really interesting and thought there was something there worth investigating.”
The mechanics of cricket skills were one of the focuses of the filmmakers. (Supplied: Trent Parke and Narelle Autio, The Summation of Force)
Backyard transformed into arena
What started as an “investigation” turned into an ambitious project.
One which saw them transform their backyard in Adelaide into what came to represent an epic sports arena.
The film was shot on a purpose-built pitch. (Supplied: Trent Parke and Narelle Autio, The Summation of Force)
“It took probably about four months just in transforming our backyard into a set,” Mr Parke said.
“We got black cricket earth trucked down from the mountains and literally laid a proper cricket pitch in the backyard.
“We bought a camera, three lights and … some editing equipment and then just started building the whole thing.
“It really was a do-it-yourself in the backyard in our small studio.”
The two boys, who are keen cricketers, have starring roles in the five-chapter film, as it analyses the genetics, training, influences and history of the game in Australia.
“There’s a lot of moments in there where we’ve tried to recreate, like those little points in professional cricketers careers that were important,” Parke said.
“Like when Brett Lee was training to become the fastest bowler in the world and he was using parachutes and Dennis Lilly on treadmills for back injuries and Mitchel Johnson in the science labs.”
Project taught patience
The moving image and sound installation was filmed over 144 nights during autumn and winter in 2016 and 2017.
Autio said it explores the art of cricket, as well as the physics of sport, in a whole new light.
“We wanted to capture movement and bodies in action and so to light it harshly in very severe lighting I think that kind of made that actual movement stand out,” she said.
“I think to take it out of real life to shoot it in black and white. It’s a bit surreal a bit dreamy, a bit hyper-real.”
Being so particular, the pair spent many hours getting just one small scene right, something Parke said taught the whole family the real meaning of patience.
“Just one last time became 50,000 one last times, so there was an incredible amount of patience for them and from us, it was tough for them but a great learning experience for all of us,” he said.
The project was a collaboration with local film company Closer Productions.
The Summation of Force has just premiered in Adelaide at the Samstag Museum of Art for the SALA Festival and will run until September 20, 2017.