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Click to preview CHASING photo book

A photo documentary book about the New York Friday Night Fights.

Book Introduction Below:

Anyone can win. 

When I started photographing the Friday Night Fights NYC, I assumed they would be in a dark room filled with musky fumes of sweat,  two hulking men consumed with blood lust and rage trying to beat the life out of each other while the watching mob violently roared for more.   I didn't know what boxing was; I didn't know who boxers were; I just didn't know. 

We both came with assumptions, me of the boxers, the boxers of me, both of us on the defense dodging judgment.  I was the outsider - some woman in a dress and "casual work" shoes roaming around the pre-fight weigh-in,  saying to men in their underwear, "Excuse me, sir, can I take your photo?"  Here they were gearing up for the most exhausting expenditure of physical and mental strength,  and there I was interfering with their moment. It was as if I showed up just before the Wimbeldon final with a ping pong paddle offering to be Roger Federer's  warm-up buddy.

Bottom line --  it was clear I knew nothing.

Those men taught me that first fight I was a guest at their table; and if I was lucky, another invitation to dine would be graciously extended.   I was lucky, and followed up a lot. Over the next two years I was invited into their gym, their lives, their victories, and their losses. I became someone who loved, supported, and began to understand the meaning of "the fight."  What those men gave me was a part of their lives; all I could offer in return were trinkets of momentary recognition --  a photo of themselves, or maybe a small editorial in a magazine. I could give them 7 minutes of their 15 minutes of fame, but what they really wanted was more complicated.  

What I learned, in the end, is that a boxer and his team have the endurance and fortitude that comes only with unshakable faith in self. In their minds there is no question where the six hours of daily training, the unpaid amateur bouts, the makeshift shared dressing rooms, will lead.  There will be a title fight in Vegas, they will walk the streets of their neighborhood as heroes, as their heroes did before them.  They don’t speak of loss or prepare for the shock of a setback. Why would they?  Then they would have to admit the possibility exists that what they are doing might result merely in defeat.  

Ironically, what I learned watching these men come and go is it is the loss that defines who they are.  They can chase the win as hard as they want, but if they run at the first sign of loss they might as well just give up.  In loss lies the last few bits of character needed to win - humility, sacrifice, and the beauty it takes to stand back up and hug the man who beat you, because he earned it -- this time.  That is faith, that is love, and that is boxing.  

Anyone can win.

binkybink

About the Author

Alison Grippo
binkybink New York

Alison Grippo launched her photography career as a Spring 2006 Hot Shot. She was named a Ne Plus Ultra and is represented by Jen Bekman Gallery.

Alison has also won PDN and Olympus' Visionage competition, has been an honorable mention multiple times in the LUCIE International Photographer of the Year Awards, and was "Chosen" by the American Photography 2007 Annual. She was a finalist for Critical Mass, sponsored by Photolucida.org and The Center Of Fine Art Photography, for her Friday Night Fights series. Work from this series has also been published in Cool'eh, File, Flak Photo, and Story. Her other work has been featured in JPG, Digital Photographer, Surface, Hotshoe International, Readymade, and various additional publications.

Comments (9) Write a comment

awmoran

awmoran says

What a remarkable piece of work.. fantastic.!!!

posted at 08:37am Oct 23 PST

boonyc436

boonyc436 says

alison - amazing photos! i love boxing and these shots are great, gritty and real. more more!

posted at 09:02am Aug 21 PST

binkybink

binkybink says

thank you all so much for your comments and your kind words, it means so much to know that the work is being received positively, not just for me, but for the subject in the book who were so great.

posted at 07:08am Jul 27 PST

waynoman

waynoman says

great work alison!

posted at 07:45pm Jul 26 PST

Sirmilton

Sirmilton says

Another amazing photo documentary by Alison Grippo. I had the joy of joining her at one of the fights in NYC and was truly moved by the perspective she took in the book. The subjects that she focuses on are amazing individuals who find hope, peace, love and self in the world of boxing. This is not a book that documents what people believe is a vicious and primitive sport, rather it looks deeper at the underlying story and bond that brings two men together in respectful and emotional sport. This book should find itself on display in your home, and definitely on the home page!

posted at 12:51pm Jul 26 PST

rickpicks

rickpicks says

the book looks absolutely brilliant - some incredible shots

posted at 11:02am Jul 25 PST

figmental

figmental says

Great photos, well done.

posted at 07:56pm Jul 24 PST

Alison Grippo - A selection - Arts & Photography photo book
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Alison Grippo - Arts & Photography photo book
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