Before the Bodypower Expo 2018 event in #Birmingham at the weekend, I was asked to photograph competitor Ashley Staines at Henrietta Street Gym by Nic Edgerton, his coach at Dream Team Fitness. Ashley went on to come 3rd out of 30 competitors. Congratulations, Ashley!
I’m doubly lucky in that I have not only been involved with photographing Henrietta Street Gym since it opened (and it’s predecessor, Fighting Fit City Gym before that) but I also happen to thoroughly enjoy every visit.
HSG is definitely the premier “heritage” boxing gym in the Midlands -and probably the UK, based as it is in a wonderfully stylish converted former industrial building near Birmingham’s St. Paul’s Square. It is often used by TV production companies (The Gadget Show were there recently) because of it’s photogenic qualities – and I get to shoot there regularly! Periodically, I go in to provide lots of images of a typical day at the gym for their various social media outlets (details below) and here are a few images from a recent visit in April. Hopefully, they capture something of the atmosphere that Neil Perkins and his team have created in this amazing venue.
I’ve photographed all (I think) of Henrietta Street Gym‘s (and Fighting Fit City Gym before that) white collar boxing shows, the most recent being the “Dawn of a Pugilist” show at Pryzm nightclub on Broad Street, Birmingham a few weeks ago.
These are always excellent shows with well-matched bouts, great crowd, and the safety of the competitors given maximum priority. For the client, I supply the images in vibrant full colour – and the excellent lighting means bright blues and reds of the opposing teams. However, for once I thought I’d do a few black and white edits for my own amusement…
One look at me is enough to realise that I’m not a person who voluntarily spends much time in the gym. However, when a regular client (Fighting Fit City Gym) re-brands as Henrietta Street Gym and moves to a specially-designed new premises and needs photos, I’m there.
Owner Neil Perkins had been keeping me up to date with the re-fit of this former industrial building in Brum’s Jewellery Quarter but I was still hugely impressed when I finally set foot in the gym a week or so after it’s launch. Neil and his architects have cut no corners and have managed to retain the building’s “heritage” feel while making it an inspiring and comfortably modern place to train.
Retaining and re-using some of the building’s character features (like old machinery, exposed brickwork and parts from the goods lift) and augmenting those with well-sourced suitably period furniture (like old theatre/cinema seating and historic pugilist artwork) gives the gym the feeling of a film set.
Even the changing rooms and showers have been carefully planned and laid out with exposed pipework, reclaimed ceramic sinks but state-of-the-art shower fittings.
Even I, whose motto is “no pain…” (that’s it, just “no pain”) can feel a little inspired in a gym like this. Neil and his team have created what must be the most stylish boxing gym in the Midlands (at least!).