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It's Chris.' I'll never forget it." James drove 10 miles to pick up the wrestler from his caravan and then took him to his photo studio.
"He looked like a bouncer – a huge guy, with this bleached beard and piercings all over." Master Photographers Association Fellow James has photographed many colourful characters as part of his Portrait of a Wrestler project, including British wrestler Jimmy Havoc, known for vicious moves such as the Acid Rainmaker.
Melanie was dubbed 'Mel the Mangler.' Jackie took on the title of 'Sugar Lips,' after the nickname her husband called her. "We got people in all different shapes and sizes." But the women wrestled their fears away and marched towards the entrance.
"Security was there," Melanie says, before laughing. " A video was shot of their exploits, showing the woman often overshadowing the bright lights of the amusement rides.
I was playing with different styles of lighting, and he was so patient with me.
By the time he'd got home, he'd recommended me to two other wrestlers.
But James persisted, and finally his big break came when he saw a newspaper article about 'The Fearless Flatliner' (aka Chris Manns): a wrestler who'd had to retire from the sport due to illness, but was now making his return to the ring.
That was followed by creating outlandish costumes, polishing over-the-top personas, and inventing dynamic names. "We were so scared," Melanie recalls of wearing the skin-tight costumes.
© James Musselwhite Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens.
© James Musselwhite" type="" Having spent seven years working in baby and family portraiture, it was all way outside James' comfort zone. "The guy was so generous with his time, and in trying out ideas.
Canon L-series lenses and soft lighting to shoot this intimate portrait of wrestler Jack Sexsmith.
"A feathered light source gives you even lighting without hard shadows," says James.LANGFORD -- Melanie and Jackie are walking towards the now empty Luxton Fairgrounds.