Santa Monica

"Dream with us. Just do it." - Nike

“Dream with us. Just do it.” - Nike

Photo of a Nike mural by Venice Beach Basketball Courts on May 27, 2019 in Venice Beach, Calif.

(Photo by Bryan Bennett)

Memorial Day in Venice Beach, California

After a long weekend of festivities, I decided to drive up to Venice Beach from San Diego to photograph the Muscle Beach International Classic. The MBIC is a bodybuilding and body physique competition that’s held every year. For those who aren’t familiar, Muscle Beach Venice is/was called home by bodybuilders Frank Columbu, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Once I arrived in Venice Beach, I attempted to park in a public parking area but it turns out they wanted to charge me $40 to park there for the whole day. Instead of paying $40 for parking, I decided to drive around to find street parking. It only took 15 minutes to find a spot, so it was worth it.

Venice beach is an interesting place. There’s the beach, a boardwalk with a bunch of tiny shops, a skatepark, basketball courts, and of course Muscle Beach Venice.

It was a beautiful day for a bodybuilding and physique competition. The weather started off at a chilly 60 degrees and sunny with an ocean breeze, but ended the day in the low 70’s with the sun beating down. People came from all over to see the competition. There was a competitor from France as well!

The competitors were all very nice people and their bodies were in incredible shape. I think I saw the biggest muscles that I have ever seen on a male or female. It’s incredible how much time and effort they put into their craft.

One thing I thought was unique was that there was an over 70 category. There were some incredible looking 70+ year olds that looked like they were more a mirror of their younger self.

I had never photographed an event like this before so I tried my best to get creative with it. There’s only so many ways you can photograph people flexing and posing on stage so I thought this would be a nice way to creatively capture the competitors showing off their skills. As you can see from the images above, I tried to photograph the details and veins of the competitors. Their body is a work of art and I wanted to show that.

There were some incredible stories there as well. But I can’t say much about one but I will post a pic of him. Just know that he has had a long road ahead of him since 2011 and May 27th was his first time competing in two years. Congrats Bryan!

And last but not least, this guy was all tatted up and even has his eyebrows tatted on!

All in all, it was a good day and a day of firsts for me. I had a great time at Muscle Beach Venice and photographing the Muscle Beach International Classic!

After photographing the MBIC, I wandered around a photographed some street basketball at the Venice Beach Basketball Courts as well as some people skating at the Venice Beach Skatepark. Here’s a frame from each of them!