Priory Park ABC at Baggeridge.

Sam Gwilt displaces his opponent’s gum-shield.

From a photographer’s point of view, the lighting in boxing venues is seldom ideal. and Baggeridge Sports & Social Club is less ideal than most with the only lighting available coming from the room’s fluorescent ceiling lights. In fact, when editing images from the many boxing shows I’ve photographed there, I’ve noticed that usually the audience are better lit than the fighters in the ring!  However, what it lacks in suitability for sports photography, it makes up for in atmosphere as Priory Park ABC‘s boxing shows here are ALWAYS full to capacity.

This month’s “open” show was no exception and showcased the club’s new talent as well as some of the more experienced boxers. Wherever Priory Park’s shows are, the standard of boxing is exceptional and Paul Gough has assembled a great team of trainers, referees, MC’s, etc that I feel I am now a part of.

A Priory Park boxer is lifted off his feet.

This shot shows how the audience are actually better lit than the boxers.

Pride Of The Black Country: Father’s Pride

As a sort of sideline to the action shots of the boxing events arranged by Priory Park Boxing Club in Dudley (the “Pride of the Black Country” as they have been called), I have continued to add to my ongoing documentary project of the same name.

The above shot shows a young boxer (just 9 years old) emerging from the ring after a non-competitive bout at a recent “Development show” to a huge hug from his very proud father, still clutching onto his trophy. This image will eventually be converted to black and white.

To me, this image encapsulates some of the excitement and euphoria that is so apparent at all of the many shows I’ve shot.

New Blood: Natasha

You know you’re getting on a bit when you find out that you went to school with your model’s auntie, and mom. Such was the case this week when I booked the lovely Natasha Fearon for the FOTO-CLUBNew Blood” event. It also turns out that I know Natasha’s boyfriend – the excellent Black Country boxer, Ryan Partridge. Anyway, you get the idea. Here’s a couple of images from the shoot…

“Tank” Rolls On

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.

Tank, about to enter the ring

Trainer Paul Gough gives advice between rounds

Ryan dominated the fight from the outset and it wasn’t long before Nenkov was in serious trouble…

Nenkov hits the canvas for the first time.

Eventually, Tank’s relentless body shots took their toll and in the 6th round (of a scheduled 10)…

Nenkov down for the second time.


DJR_5514

Ryan basks in his well-deserved glory.

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.

No Shoot Like Home

When I can, I like to do the odd “fun shoot” – shoots intended to be nothing more than a test for new equipment, different lighting, different looks, to try new themes and post-production styles. My most recent “fun shoot” was all about seeing what I could get squeeze creatively out of a familiar environment, in this case my apartment and apartment block. I also had some vague notions of creating something “filmic”, perhaps capturing some noir-ish lighting and hinting at some kind of imagined narrative.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

I put out a casting on a certain well-known social networking site (I doubt they need the name-check) asking for a volunteer non-model model. On other words, someone who was prepared to pose for me given the vaguest of briefs but ideally not someone who models on a regular or professional basis. I was chuffed when Samantha tentatively stepped forward.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha has a great look: loads of tattoos, and with eyes that seem to change colour depending on the light. Dodging other residents and the cleaners, we started by shooting in the communal corridor and stairwells using only available light.

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

Samantha. Copyright David Rann 2013

As you can see, I’ve also had a bit of fun with the post-production on these images. everything was shot on RAW, processed initially in Lightroom and then a bit of grunge texture mood added in Snapseed.

More to follow…

 

 

 

Pride Of The Black Country: The Story Continues…

When I was working towards my photography degree a few years back I began a documentary project (my first) about my local boxing club – Priory Park ABC in Dudley. I’ve been photographing the club (named “the Pride of the Black Country” by one boxing MC), their fighters and their events ever since. Earlier this month I again photographed Priory Park’s brightest stars at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall, including Luke Paddock, Ricky Summers and, fighting for his first title belt – Ryan “Tank” Aston.

In my next few posts I’m going to show you some of my images from the Wolverhampton show. I’m fortunate to have been invited once again to photograph the backstage scenes too and this is more in keeping with the rest of my “Pride…” project. I’ll start with the backstage stuff (or some of it – more in the next post) and then some of the action as photographed from ringside.

Trainer Paul Gough not succumbing to the pressure.

Trainer Paul Gough not succumbing to the pressure.

"Tank" relaxes before his title fight.

“Tank” relaxes before his title fight.

Luke Paddock being prepared by the "best cuts man in the business".

Luke Paddock being prepared by the “best cuts man in the business”.

Luke Paddock collects his thoughts before his (winning) fight.

Luke Paddock collects his thoughts before his (winning) fight.

Warming up. Luke Paddock.

Warming up. Luke Paddock.

Luke Paddock being bandaged by Paul Gough.

Luke Paddock being bandaged by Paul Gough.

 

And in case you’re wondering, all three Priory Park fighters won their bouts…

The Express & Star’s coverage of the event… http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/other-sport/boxing/2013/07/08/ryan-aston-retires-harry-matthews-for-first-title/

Ricky dedicated his fight to his mother’s memory – more here – http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/other-sport/boxing/2013/07/03/ricky-summers-dedicates-fight-to-mums-memory/

And Priory Park’s website – http://www.prioryparkboxing.co.uk/