Over the last… ooh, quite a few… years now, I’ve been fortunate to photograph some amazing boxing action at all levels, from young amateurs to white collar first-timers to professionals. I owe my introduction into boxing photography to Paul Gough and his amazing team at Priory Park ABC in Dudley, which in turn led to my ongoing relationship with Birmingham’s fantastic white collar gym “Fighting Fit City Gym” (led by Neil Perkins).
I’ve covered many fights but also provided promotional and press images for clubs, promoters and individual fighters. I’m pleased to say that this seems to be growing nicely. However, I’ve decided to push myself and my services a little further afield. After all, even the studio images can be produced on location if necessary.
The recent “Portfolio Booster” course gave me the perfect excuse to invite brilliant local (Black Country) boxer Ryan “Tank” Aston back into the studio. Ryan is an exceptional subject for photographs, super-fit (as you’d expect a professional boxer might be) but is also a very handsome chap.
This shot shows Ryan in a more reflective pose. He’s now taking more bookings for modelling gigs (see his Purpleport profile here).
Don’t judge me but I decided to have a bit of a play with a recent studio shot of poet-by-day boxer-by-night Matt “Man” Windle by adding some smashing glass. That’s glass that is smashing, not really great glass…. You know what I mean. I kinda like it.
Here’s a shot from back in March of Black Country boxing hope Ricky Summers (on the right) doing what he does best at The Venue in Dudley. I’ve quite a few more boxing shoots in the diary – can’t wait!
When I moved Fotofilia to the current premises within BOM (Birmingham Open Media), one of the items I was determined not to leave behind was a large piece of flooring vinyl. Not (just) because I’m a bit of a tightwad, but because this piece of aluminium chequerplate-effect vinyl had proven its worth as a very versatile background at the old premises and I really didn’t want to be without it.
As an example of its versatility, here are examples of two very different shoots using the same background taken within a week of each other..
In the unlikely event that you can’t tell the difference, the images on the left feature the gorgeous Kate-Anne Cooper (taken at a Fotofilia “Special Studio Evening”) and the ones on the right are boxers from Fighting Fit City Gym who came in for some promo shots for their forthcoming boxing show at Gatecrasher in Birmingham.
There’ll probably come a time when I get bored of this background. Maybe.
Some people spend their Summer Friday afternoons drifting away from their places of work and heading over to the beer garden for a bit of liquid refreshment. Not me. I was taking photographs in a very muddy builders’ yard in the Black Country.
I had been asked by Priory Park ABC‘s head trainer Paul Gough to take some pictures of some of the club’s top boxers for a poster. The idea was to photograph the lads in front of a digger – with boxer Ricky “Digger” Summers (who will be fighting for a title at the event that the poster is going to be advertising) taking centre stage.
Pictured are (from left): Ryan Partridge, Ryan “Tank” Aston, Ricky Summers, Luke Paddock, and Ryan Corrigan
The only digger available was perched atop a huge pile of gravel/soil and because of the available space could only be photographed from 180 degrees. The strong sun was in and out of the clouds on a minute-by-minute basis and was either directly behind, or almost to the side of the lads. And so I used some off-camera strobe to lift up the shadows on their faces a bit.
We finally dispensed with the high-vis jackets and helmets and let the boxers look like boxers…
And just to show that we also experimented with some different positioning…
Neither of these images are the one chosen for the poster. You’ll have to wait to see that. And the ultra-high-clarity finish to these images is as requested by Paul (it’s not my usual look but I do like it on these shots).
For quite a few years now, I’ve been watching the young boxers of Dudley’s Priory Park ABC as they grow (in every sense) and develop their craft under the expert guidance of trainer Paul Gough and his team. My first tentative steps into documentary photography began with a story about this club and even back then, one name was being whispered as a future champion – Dudley’s own Ryan “Tank” Aston. If you’d been alongside me at ringside when “Tank” faced Bulgarian fighter Stanislav Nenkov at The Venue, Dudley on 7th June, you’d know how he earned his nickname.
Ryan dominated the fight from the outset and it wasn’t long before Nenkov was in serious trouble…
Eventually, Tank’s relentless body shots took their toll and in the 6th round (of a scheduled 10)…
This fight was the final bout in a show which also showcased other local professionals based at Priory Park including Ricky Summers (images of whom I plan to post in the near future). I can honestly say that Ryan’s victory was a fitting highlight to an excellent night of boxing put together by Paul Gough. It was so good in fact, that I confess I was a bit too distracted at times to concentrate on my photography, Still, I walked away with quite a few images that I was pleased with.