Dan Treado’s black and white prizefighters.
I’m a huge boxing fan (as well as being addicted to black and white photography), so when I saw Dan Treado‘s terrific series of portraits of prizefighters, I had to contact him and highlight the work on photoweenie.com.
Dan sent me a bit of background on the series:
In 1987, the project was a simple one; I wanted to construct a unique catalog of all of my friends. I was a 23 year old artist, a painter, and I had a studio that was located above an art and music venue called DC Space, in Washington DC. I was involved in the music scene, and a number of my friends were musicians in bands that were a vital part of the punk rock climate then. I was eager to document my close relationships at the time, and my friends became willing collaborators.
I had been experimenting in the studio with large scale painted landscapes that relied on sources such as 19th century notions of the sublime (Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church) as well as fast and loose imagery from carnival and circus backdrops. These attempts of mine weren’t very successful as finished paintings, but they became useful as backdrops for the prizefighter portraits which were to come. One friend of mine was a Golden Gloves boxer and I would visit him at the gym regularly; another friends’ uncle was a boxer decades before, and I poured over the scrapbook that chronicled his short career; at the D.C. Armory that summer, I watched the middleweight champ Simon Brown mop the floor with his unlucky opponents. I was hooked.
Most of my friends were unconvincing as athletes, but the prizefighter gear and my tentative coaching usually resulted in postures of awkward vulnerability that I find compelling still. I’ve only shown these pictures as a group, and so, many years later, they function as the discrete catalog that I was after — a record of a unique period of our lives when we were all connected by a unique trajectory described by the arc of youth, an arc that was marked by episodes of manic energy, tribal loyalty, and fierce love for one another.
You can see more of Dan’s work here.