One of the most important parts of building any career is using the contacts you've made throughout your life. Some of those contacts may surprise you and take you into communities you never knew existed. Last year I became friends on Facebook with an old friend from high school that I hadn't talked to since then, my friend James "Jimmy" Kee. I put out some feelers looking for boxers for a Photoshoot, and luckily enough James reached out to me about the company he works with, Smash Wrestling. At first I was a little hesitant because I really don't have any experience with wrestling, I stopped watching WWF wrestling before it became WWE. But just because something is unfamiliar it should never stop you from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Finally this January I made it out to one of their shows and it was totally worth it.
The best part about this community is how close they are. After I set up my mini studio, I sat and watched them interact with each other. Shaking hands, hugging, catching up. They come from different parts of Canada and the US, these shows are their time to catch up in each other's lives. It's pretty amazing. It reminds me of the Crossfit world, everyone is close and encourages each other's goals.
The more I shoot the more I see my style in my portraits. I enjoy a dark contrast in my black and whites, I want the mood to reflect the subjects. With wrestling it was easy to settle on a dark mood for the photos, after all these are people that beat the crap out of each other for a living. For entertainment purposes, of course. 😏
Similar to writing, sometimes it writes itself. Shooting these characters was much the same. Their personalities come out so honestly in portrait, there is no hiding, they were born to do this. You can see the passion in their eyes. That's the truest portrait you can take, one that shoots itself.
I would like to thank Smash Wrestling for the opportunity to work with them and cannot wait until the next shoot. Be sure to follow Smash Wrestling on Facebook and Instagram (@smashwrestling) for updates on their next shows.