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The photographers who captured the unforgettable 2017 Body Issue pictures discuss what it's like to work with nude athletes and how the shoots come together.

Making Of The Body Issue

"I've photographed a thousand different athletes in my life. Of course, every one of them had clothes on." - Walter Iooss, photographed Isaiah Thomas

Year-round for the past 10 years, photo editors in Bristol have dedicated themselves to creating something unique and powerful, to showcase the bodies and personalities of the best athletes in the world.

In 2017, 16 athletes were photographed. It took 352 crew members on set to pull it off. The photo shoots spanned the entire country and required months of preparation.

From lighting to set design, locations to logistics, there are so many variables in making The Body Issue. Here are the things you didn't know about the photos we look forward to every year and the ones we certainly will never forget.


Over 1,200 pounds of the same clay used at the French Open was imported to Spiderwood Studios in Texas to make a faux court.

Dewey Nicks photographed tennis player Caroline Wozniacki in Utley, Texas

“The first minutes of a body shoot are a little bit tense, and you have to start slow and get them on your side.”

Joe Pugliese photographed the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team in Chapel, Florida

The hats that seem impossibly positioned are actually on strings held by off-camera crew members.

Ramona Rosales photographed hockey players Joe Thornton and Brent Burns

Groomers brushed over 70 feet of synthetic hair in six different colors to produce 3.5-4-foot beards.

Sussy Campos was the groomer for Thornton and Burns

Nneka Ogwumike had her sister and fellow WNBA player, Chiney, on FaceTime during her Body shoot.

Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa photographed Ogwumike on a rooftop basketball court at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles

Five hundred gallons of water were dumped over football player Ezekiel Elliott, allowing only four minutes to get the shot.

Kwaku Alston photographed Elliott in Dallas

To save time, a repetitive flash was used for the Isaiah Thomas shoot. “I have always been a firm believer to keep things moving. Never keep an athlete waiting.”

Walter Iooss photographed basketball player Isaiah Thomas

“It was windy, and it was cold, and it was snowing.”

Mark Seliger photographed fighter Michelle Waterson in the Bisti Badlands, New Mexico

Out of 16 athletes in the 2017 Body Issue, 14 had at least one tattoo.

Peter Yang photographed climber Kristie Ennis in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Baseball player Javier Baez was photographed using only iPhones, which can't sync with flashes. The crew relied on natural light outside and massive, movie-set lights indoors.

Dylan Coulter photographed Baez in Coolidge, Arizona

Runner Novlene Williams-Mills' shoot depicted bold colors using lights and backdrops. “I was excited to do something that would stand on its own and be a little different.”

Marcus Smith photographed Williams-Mills in Orlando

The temperature was 21 degrees while photographing skier Gus Kenworthy on Mammoth Mountain in California.

Ben Lowy photographed Kenworthy in Mammoth Lakes, California

Crew members lay in the foreground with foam fingers while wide receiver Julian Edelman jumped into a crash pad, appearing to soar through the skyline on the rooftop of the Willow Studios.

Peggy Sirota photographed Edelman in Los Angeles

Soccer player Julie Ertz [formerly Julie Johnson] and her now-husband, Zach Ertz, got married just six days after their Body Issue shoot.

Carlos Serrao photographed the Ertzes in La Jolla, California

Rugby player Malakai Fekitoa and the photo crew traveled in small boats with equipment to get to a black sand beach in Hawaii.

Benedict Evans photographed Fekitoa in Kona, Hawaii

Figure skater Ashley Wagner performed actual jumps on the ice during her Body Issue shoot.

Silja Magg photographed Wagner in Anaheim, California

A batter's box was created in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California, which set the scene for softball player A.J. Andrews.

Peter Hapak photographed Andrews in Hinkley, California

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