The Lion and The Lamb2023 - ongoing
Step into the world of the Columbia University Wrestling Team, where the art of grappling and the human spirit intersect. This project explores the mind-body connection of each wrestler and how those individuals contribute to the collective. Each boy’s advanced physicality combined with a unique outlook on what physical touch means, allows these wrestlers to communicate and emote freely in a safe space.
These young men exist as timeless figures in a modern era. As they grapple with each other, they tap into an ancient human instinct to battle; becoming ambassadors for the most naturalistic version of humans today. Three components of their environment combine to form a pressure-cooker of emotions: the intensity of the sport, the endless hours of work put in to be deduced down to a 7 minute match, and the brotherhood which provides the space for them to break down and be brought back up like waves moving through the ocean. Beauty exudes from every bead of sweat that falls from each of their faces onto the blue mat that has become home to a boy from a low income family in the midwest, a boy from Nigeria who only just started wrestling, and the boy who has lived in a privileged side of New York City his whole life. Where he comes from is not important. All that matters is that he will sacrifice to become a warrior for his new brotherhood.
Aside from the hard work and unbreakable bonds; these boys are just that: boys. Even though they own a collection of qualities associated with grown men, they are still young people at a formative time in their lives. Through this project, images of playfulness, strength, intimacy, and innocence that form the connections between these wrestlers speak to each other as if they all happen moment to moment. In a time where young men are expected to be hollow, the smiles, screams, and gasps of exasperation echo endlessly in the wrestling room.