Gladiators in White Collars

Gladiators in White Collars

Imagine going to work knowing that, at the end of the day, you will, for the first time, begin training as a boxer. Imagine this continuing for eight weeks, knowing throughout that when the eight weeks are over, you’ll have to get in the ring and actually fight ¬†someone else – another white collar worker who has done the exact same thing.

That’s White Collar Fighting. When I first heard about this event I thought: how many of us are actually looking for a fight? Most of us spend our lives actively avoiding physical confrontation, perhaps because we’re brought up to, or because it’s widely acknowledged that physical violence isn’t a necessary or effective way of resolving most issues. It takes a lot for most people to take a swing.

So how does a person feel after two short months of learning an martial art that pre-dates Ancient Rome, then, with your nerves boiling up through your belly, facing another rookie in a proper boxing ring-  while an audience of your peers and colleagues looks on, primed and jonesing for violence?

Pretty good, it turns out.

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My two favourite things in photography are people, and lighting. The problem with matching up the two is that lighting takes time to set up, and then it needs refining and fettling into the look you’re after. While you’re focusing on the technical aspects, your subject is left out in the cold. The MO here was simple – get them from the fight to the studio as soon as possible, while their blood is up and the sweat is still beading, and have the best of both worlds – something very human and completely of the moment, captured under beautiful lighting.

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These aren’t all the people who fought, and not all the people placed side by side on the canvas fought each other. But not a single person refused their portrait, no matter if they won or lost, and no matter what state they were in.

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