Elegant Violence - Amy Elkins

Elegant Violence

These works are an extension of my ongoing exploration into masculine identity. In this particular project I am fascinated with rugby, a brutal contact sport rich in tradition, dating back to the 1800’s. I’m interested in the balance between athleticism, modes of violence or aggression and varying degrees of vulnerability within a sport where brutal body contact is fundamental to the game. I am also interested in the history of the game and how it has long been described as both traditional and barbaric, elegant and violent.

Zak (Second Row, University Team Captain), Princeton, NJ © 2010 Amy Elkins

Dan (Wing/Fullback), New Haven, CT © 2010 Amy Elkins

Derek (Flanker), New York, NY © 2010 Amy Elkins 

Rick (Tight Head Prop Forward), Princeton, NJ © 2010 Amy Elkins 
Arturo (Flyhalf), New Haven, CT © 2010 Amy Elkins 
Inspired by vintage studio portraits of rugby players dating from the 1870’s to 1930’s I have set up daylight studios on the field in order to make portraits of young rugby players immediately after the game. In doing so, I am aiming to capture signs of an 80 minute game that often involves intense physicality and aggressive contact without the use of pads or helmets, focusing on the subtly in their expression and body language, the dirt on their uniforms and the wounds they come away with.

Tim (2nd Row), New York © 2010 Amy Elkins 
Amy Elkins was born in Venice Beach, CA and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her photographs explore notions of male identity and gender codes and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including shows at Kunsthalle wien in Vienna, Austria, The PIP International Photo Festival in Pingyao, China, Gallery Elsa in Busan, South Korea, Barbara Walters Gallery, National Arts Club, Tina Kim Gallery and Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York as well as at Minneapolis Art Institute and Carnegie Art Museum, among many others.  Elkins' work has been published in American Photo, Arch+, Corduroy, Dear Dave, EyeMazing, Harpers, NY Arts, NY Times Magazine, OUT, PDN, POP photo and Vision Magazine among others.  In 2011 Elkins was awarded with the Lightwork Artist-in-Residence prize.  

In June of 2008 Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips co-founded wipnyc.org, a platform for showcasing both established and emerging women in photography.

Elkins is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York.

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