Photographer Amelia Shepherd's Female Fighters at the Brighton Photo Fringe

By Alex Oxborough | 09 October 2012
A photo of a female boxer in profile looking out of a window next to a gym punchbag
Female Fighters at the Brighton Photo Fringe© Amelia Shepherd
Exhibition Review: Female Fighters, Brighton Media Centre, Brighton; Sundial Clinic, Brighton; until November 18 2012

Female kickboxers captured in the moments after sparring are the subject of Amelia Shepherd’s multimedia photography, showing the transition between two worlds – the purely physical and the realm of roles and responsibilities – in an exhibition inspired by the artist’s own love of kickboxing.

Aggression is a central theme in the images themselves and the accompanying audio. Without make-up, softness or sexualisation of any kind, these are women who find peace in controlled aggression. It makes for a challenging exploration of female stereotypes.

“I’m really interested in the way women are perceived,” says Shepherd. “Being a twin means it’s second nature for me to have to work to define my own separate identity.  The multiple facets of our personalities are close to my heart and experiences.”

Trained as a photojournalist, Shepherd’s work is innately narrative. This exhibition is not photography that questions what is happening outside the frame: rather, the sitter demands you look at them, and see the whole person.

The format of the exhibition, featuring multimedia exhibits at a central location with a trail of posters around Brighton, reinforces this sense of a journey of discovery.

The placement of posters in certain settings, such as next to lingerie shops, uses context to playfully provoke. By taking the viewer outside the gallery environment and into the real world, the images become more immediate and individually relevant.

  • Brighton Media Centre, Middle Street, Brighton, Open 10am-5pm; Sundial Physio Clinic, Queens Road, Brighton. Open 9am-7pm (10am-2pm Saturday, closed Sunday). Visit the show online.

More pictures:

A photograph of a tracksuited female kickboxer sitting down with her hands bandaged
© Amelia Shepherd
A photo of a female kickboxer staring into the camera wearing gloves and a tracksuit
© Amelia Shepherd
A photo of a woman in a kickboxing outfit sitting on a white bench inside a gym
© Amelia Shepherd
A photo of a female kickboxer in profile sitting down inside a gym wearing sports gear
© Amelia Shepherd
A photo of a female kickboxer in shorts and sport t-shirt standing inside a gymnasium
© Amelia Shepherd
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