Photo Journal Monday: Lauren Harris
The Boxer, 2018 - 2019
After unearthing my late grandfather’s military photographs of his regiment’s boxing team, my curiosity into the sport’s seemingly brutal and visceral nature was conceived. The hyper-masculinity so alien to me in these images prompted an investigation into the sport. My findings have manifested in my photographic series The Boxer. The images were created over 6 months during training sessions with Islington Boxing Club, which nurtures some of the nation’s best amateur boxers and is a cornerstone of the community.
In recent years, the sport has been suggested as a possible solution to the UK’s rise knife crime. Young males in particular have been the perpetrators and targets of such violence. Opinions on whether boxing helps or hinders tackling this issue are polarized. Some believe that the sport further encourages violence; however many campaigns have been in support of the sport as it creates a community for young people where they gain a sense of belonging, companionship and discipline.
After creating this project, it is the latter opinion that I have come to uphold. What I unexpectedly came to observe was a tenderness and compassion between the boxers and their coaches, as well as an accepted and celebrated vulnerability within each individual. These juxtaposed moments of softness and support between brutal fighting and sparring appear to be the foundation of the success of a boxer, and are of great importance in the outside world as well as any winning performance in the ring.
The project aims to document and celebrate a co-existing strength and vulnerability in the sport and masculinity that often goes unseen. Whilst lenses in photography are most commonly fixated into the violence in the ring, The Boxer aims to provide an alternative perspective on the sport and more widely on masculinity.
To see more of Lauren’s work, visit her website here