Boxing.

If you are a new photographer or an old hand, it is important to have little projects.

They keep you practicing and this means you should be learning and getting better.

The more exposure you can get (Pardon the accidental pun!) to different situations and environments means that if and when you get to the point of earning some additional pocket money or making a living from photography, when you come across problems you have the tools to overcome any snag you are faced with.

You can get ideas from anywhere, reading other blogs, not necessarily photography blogs. You could join a local camera club, ask friends for suggestions or enroll on a short college course. You could, if so inclined even earn yourself a masters degree in photography.

I set out to blog about a boxing shoot and have gone totally off course and started what looks like I’m prepping a presentation on Photography Projects. So please excuse the sudden change of direction…… Boxing!

Actually it was a little project where I had to get ten to twelve photos in an editorial style that could accompany an article. My choice was to hit a boxing gym (Another accidental pun!!), get a mixture of portraits, people working out, sparing and the general feel of the gyms.

Most boxing gyms that I have visited might be considered a bit rough and ready. They are not like your posh gyms where you pay a fortune every month and hardly ever use. Boxing gyms are much cheaper and they are working environments. You’ve heard the term ‘Fighting fit’. Well if you think you are fit and want to know the difference between gym fit and ‘fighting fit’ you should go to a boxing gym.

I’d probably add gymnastics and cross-fit into the seriously fit people and working gym category, so please don’t bombard me with emails about how good this or that is…

Boxers get a bit of a raw deal, I remember growing up and hearing things about boxers being thick thugs with no prospects. Guess what? Its not true.

If anyone has those perceptions, again I would say that you should visit your local boxing gyms and you will soon change your opinion.

Most of the boxers that I have come across are absolute gents. Probably more courteous and patient than most of the general public that I commute with.

Boxing gyms also do great work in pulling their communities together, even the police started to get involved with boxing gyms because they realised that if they got young herberts into the gyms, those herberts would learn self respect, restraint and discipline.

Still not convinced? Go see for yourself.

The two gyms I focused on (Yet another one of those accidental puns. Sorry!) where Fitzroy Lodge on Lambeth Road, London, SE1 and The All Stars Boxing Club on Harrow Road, London, W10.

Fitzroy Lodge is located within some railway arches and was founded by M.r Mick Carney in the mid to late 1940s.

All Stars Gym is in a grade 2 listed former church and was founded by Mr. Isola Akay in the early 80s.

I am told both Mr. Carney & Mr. Akay were friends and both have a well deserved MBE for the work they have done within their communities.

Both gyms mentioned are charities and rely on donations and local support to keep running.

Both also have a great deal of history. Much more than I could squeeze into my short photography blog so please click on the name of the gyms for more information:

Fitzroy Lodge.

All Stars.

Without further waffling from me here are a selection of the images from two brief visits to the clubs.
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IMG_8922

IMG_8853

IMG_8845

IMG_8944

IMG_9015

IMG_9026

IMG_9049

IMG_9033

IMG_8967

IMG_8900

IMG_8535

I kind of know my weak points with these images and unfortunately my flash started to play up with the image of the Akay brothers that happened to be in the darkest part of the gym (Typical). If you have tips, tricks or useful suggestions to help me improve, I would like to hear them.

If you like the images, please also feel free to tell me 😉

A massive thank you to Mark Reigate of Fitzroy Lodge, The Akay Brothers of Harrow Road and the boxers that agreed to be photographed.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

3 comments

  1. An interesting project Jimmy, and I think the B+W shots worked best, but then I am biased about the old school! You are giving it a good go, trying out new things, and it will only help your development (couldn’t resist!) as a photographer in the long run.
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

  2. A project is always good, and you have a nice set of images, again.

    I particularly like the one with the equipment hanging on the ropes, although I might have cropped it a bit on the right where it looks a bit messy. The barbells one I’d really good, too.

    All of the full face portraits really evoke the work that those guys get through.

    It’s a nice set of photos, good enough to sell to the gym, I expect.

    1. I gave a couple of printed portraits to one of the gyms and am about to email some to the other.

      As I’m only learning it is the only way I can get access to places at the moment.

      As always, thanks for your suggestions.

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