"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Monday, March 14, 2016

kampala boxing club

In a recent post I made mention of the boxing club in Kampala, Uganda. One of the first things that happened during my three-week long workshop with Thatcher Cook in 2006 was a visit to the club. Thatcher suggested that I go there to "get out of my comfort zone." I slung my SLR over my shoulder, hopped on a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) and immediately headed over there. After all, I had come to Uganda to push myself into unknown territory; here was a way to dive right in… shoot something I'd never shot before in a place unlike anywhere I'd ever been before. The minute I walked into the space, I knew I was about to transcend into photography heaven.

The guys (and a handful of women) took me in right away. It helped that Thatcher had cleared the way for me. It also helped that I was in the midst of doing some boxing of my own with a trainer at the Woodside Health Club back home in Kansas City. The guys appreciated me showing off my moves, especially my upper cut which was quite impressive at the time.

After introductions and me showing off, the athletes got back to the business of shadow boxing, sparring and punching the bags. The place was gritty and sweaty and dark. I danced around the guys as I photographed them. They didn't hesitate to let me get close. The shooting became kind of a dance. I love it when that happens.

After thinking back to that afternoon and the one that followed (I had so much fun I returned the next day) I revisited the images I shot. I've never even processed most of these before. Seeing them in a finished state reminds me how much I love a good challenge, how much I love being in situations where I have to make my own way, how much I love connecting with people, how much I love photographing people who are passionate about what they do, how much I love and am grateful for opportunities that encapsulate all of the above, and yes, how much I love photography.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the intensity of these. Nice work!
- JM