"The appearance does not hide the essence, it reveals it" - Jean Paul Sartre, 1943
Mind / Matter
Austin, TX - While many of us are still asleep, or still clinging to the facsimile of lucidity with our morning coffee, there are those men and women who rise before the sun and form a somber cavalcade toward the gym. Some seek repentance for the night before- chance to burn off their sins and resume life from neutral ground. For others, it's a chance for self transformation. They seek to build upon stable ground a mountainous mass of moulded muscle. Here, in a bare bones gym dimly lit by fluorescent bulbs, Nick Hanley, 26, leads a class of thirty in a whirlwind of limbs towards their fitness goals with CrossFit, a sport characterized by a militant focus on form and precision. For Hanley, however, another intangible goals lies on the horizon.
CROSSFIT CENTRAL, AUSTIN - Nick Hanley, 26, rest on a stack of weights at his gym in Austin.
Hanley, with equal parts militance and levity, addresses the group.
Hanley talks candidly with one of his students.
Rings hanging in the doorway of CrossFit Central, during a rare moment of disuse.
Hanley applies chalk to his hands before attempting the olympic lift.
Hanley finishes out his set of dead lifts with steady, mechanical precision.
Hanley, at the bottom of the olympic lift, one of his favorite moves within the sport.
Exterior of CrossFit Central.
Hanley displays his core strength with a walking hand stand outside of the gym.
Nick Hanley, 26, leads his class in a stretch after a rigorous four hour class.
The series Big Bad begins with the premise of discomfort- an odd feeling of attraction and disgust- and follows, introspectively, with mankind’s oldest question: Why? My intention is to trace my own fears back to their source through emphasis and examination of the visual medium. My hope is for others follow this same path, to know themselves through their interpretation of the world.
The human body is a mystery to some of us. Not in its anatomy, but rather in its variation. For centuries the male gaze- the ideal image of what men and women should look like- has dominated art and many other forms of media. While this ideal is not static, changing from year to year, region to region, it yet has the effect of stifling creativity and controling our body image. So we stay safe, hide beneath mass produced garments and gravity defying undergarments. Or we confirm and shape ourselves to expectations. When it's spy against spy between your friends and neighbors, when is it ever safe to drop your guard? We wear our skin like a suit of armor and expect it to feel like a mink coat.