Tim Tadder and a study of fearlessness

“Daily, I am climbing, scratching and clawing my way towards being my very best. The pursuit of craft and the drive to create images that elicit a response is never lost on me.”

Tim Tadder

By Missy Hunter

Being fearless is an inherent and often mentioned trait attributed to Tim Tadder and his work. But what does it mean? To Tim, being fearless means working with no hesitation, having grit and determination. Drawing from his days as an athlete and later as a coach, being fearless requires going all in on projects, every single time. Ultimately, it means you are a fighter, every step of the way. So, it is no wonder that Tim identifies with brands and people who embody fearlessness as well. Here is a small sample what he has been up to lately and the people and brands he connected with along the way.

Cleopatra Lee, Social Influencer, NYC, for Nike Vision

Cleopatra Lee is a dauntless 23-year-old and was one of the influencers whom Tim photographed for a Nike Vision campaign. Like those her age, Cleopatra is the product of a social media childhood where photos and real-time updates sell your image. Check out her Instagram account which has over 180K followers.

Unlike many of her peers at this age, Cleo is all about taking charge of her life and helping others to do the same. Her can-do attitude though started long ago. Having grown up in Harlem, she might have seen the brick wall that greeted her daily through her bedroom window. Instead, through the years she used that wall as the backdrop to the motivational quotes and mantras adhered to the glass – a perfect example of a person living on their own terms.

On running, Cleo states “It’s not about strength. It’s not about speed or distance. I don’t compete. I train for focus.”

Cleopatra is all about health and fitness. Like Tim, she is always up for a challenge and has no hesitation going after what she wants. She started Cleo’s Army, “an organization that helps unite healthy women and inspire other women to become healthy.” To make this happen, she has held fitness classes in large cities across the U.S.

May we all find the bold motivation Cleo displays.

Ashton Eaton, Olympic Athlete and Entrepreneur, SF, for China 361

Tim has worked with powerful, committed professional athletes the majority of his career. When he created visuals of Olympic athlete Ashton Eaton for China 361, he was blown away by his work ethic. “Nothing seemed to intimidate Ashton; he just goes after it.” It takes bravery to become an Olympic athlete. Throughout their path to the games, athletes make sacrifices, exude dedication like no other, live through heartbreak and if they are like Ashton, experience triumph and joy.

Ashton was born and raised in Portland, OR, playing various sports, and attending the University of Oregon competing in the Decathlon and Heptathlon. He has won multiple NCAA titles, International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) awards, earned world records and is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner. Despite all of this, people often cite him for his humility. According to Tim “Ashton is the most unassuming, inspiring person you can encounter.”

What’s more, Ashton is now retired and working on a new tech venture in San Francisco. He has always been a person who achieves human performance, referring to his athletic abilities. However, as an athlete, he knows a person’s mindset is also key to being successful.

In an interview with learning community South Park Commons, about his new career, Ashton said “I’m motivated by that same feeling I had early on as an athlete. I’m looking forward to digging into the things that are most challenging, as facing them will likely determine my success later on.”

Sometimes being fearless is way more mental than perceived.

HLA Jeans, Making a Mental Shift

An audacious opportunity came about for Tim as a result of a personal project he had done capturing neon hoodies with different color treatments. Tim is an indomitable visual communicator, so when it came to taking on a project with fashion brand HLA that wasn’t his athletic bread-and-butter, he didn’t skip a beat. Here was a venture where Tim could make a mental shift of documenting athletes whose form, grit and vibe colored the shoot, to creating images for a full line of a fashion brand. The result is a free-flowing, organic collaboration focused on color and light.

Communication Arts responds to Tim’s images

When you create images with the intent on eliciting a response, it is nice when the industry acknowledges the work. Thank you to Communication Arts and their panel of judges for honoring him with four award-winning photos; two of which are for the HLA campaign!

Follow Tim on Instagram to see more of his latest work and to see additional images that elicit a response.

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