My name is Aaron Bratkovics and I am a photographer currently based out of Santa Barbara, California. I have been CrossFitting since 2011 and I’ve also been weightlifting on the Santa Barbara Strength Barbell Team for the past year or so with my amazing coaches. For me the best part of CrossFit is the community It’s this awesome place where people from all walks of life come to sweat, laugh, and grow. The bond that forms between athletes is unlike anything else and I love being the eye that witnesses it all.
To me, living life AsRx is being an active member and positive influence in my community. As a photographer I spend a lot of time in the local affiliates photographing athletes and their personal journeys. When I’m capturing an athlete I am fully invested in them and their emotions. I know that they’re going through something and I can see both the mental and the physical battle going on inside them. Those are the moments that I love to capture the most, the ones of raw and uncut emotion. It is these brief instants that make life worthwhile. The CrossFit world is a community unlike any other where we are not always tied to technology (even though I love my smartphone) but rather we are focused on what’s in front of us. I love that human interaction is such a huge part of a CrossFit athlete’s life. Living life as Rx is all about creativity and serving the community for the better; and I’m here to capture these athletes in order to tell their stories and sweat along side them every now and again.
When thinking about how I would show Life AsRx Jade Marie Young was the first person to come to mind. She is a humble trailblazer in her CrossFit community. I met her and her team at the Strength of Love competition in Ventura in October 2015 and was struck by her open and positive attitude. After getting to know her more I realized she was truly living out the Life As Rx mission through her creativity and her drive to impact her community, as well as other communities, for the better.
Jade started CrossFit in 2013 in numerous garage gyms with her close friends. Her dad, a master’s athlete, was a huge source of inspiration and education in the gym. She was later, as she says, “adopted” by CrossFit Kerosene; the box she now calls home. To her it’s a place where she can unload her emotions from the day and translate them into movements. One of her favorite parts about CrossFit is that it is constantly changing. She feels that once she tackles one movement there are three more that she could work on next. She’s currently focusing on the Open and is hoping to put her year of intense training to work. Her coaches and her family stand behind her in her goals and expectations in the gym as well as in her life.
The Young family is a closely-knit unit that works together to support and encourage each other. Both her mother and father are athletic and Jade grew up watching her dad compete in everything from Jiu Jitsu to marathons. Jade admits that she is a lot like her father, Gary; taking after him in both athletics and his work ethic. When I asked her about her mom, Lorena, she replied, “I can be kind of scatterbrained sometimes. My mom shows her love by keeping me organized”. Her sister, Bre, is “the brains of the operation” and helps Jade with whatever she needs. Family life is a huge part of Jade and they are her rock. She is also rooted in her faith and has been from a young age.