Mud, Blood & Mental Grit
Mud, Blood & Mental Grit
This body of work is an ongoing project documenting the growing sport of obstacle racing. Those who participate in this sport put not only their bodies through difficult situations, but their minds as well. These images give a glimpse into what is like to participate in these events, and shot from a variety of different courses including Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, BattleFrog, Rugged Maniac and many others.
This is a dirty, grueling and physically demanding way to spend a weekend, and these images capture that feeling from the perspective of a participant. Many of the people who run in these events are doing it for reason other than just because it is fun. The goal of overall better health and fitness, raising money to help fund another individual or taking part in an event in the memory of someone who is no longer with us are just a few of the examples for the motivation for obstacle course running. Personally, I dedicated my first Tough Mudder to the memory of Gabriel Luis Acosta who was a close friend and former colleague of mine from the San Bernardino Sun Newspaper who suddenly passed away a month before that first event. Since then I have opted to run in honor of those that have dealt with or are dealing with cancer.
These images are all printed from paper negatives in a traditional darkroom. This technique is what gives the pictures their extreme grainy quality. This grain is a simulacrum to the mud, dirt, grime or other substances a participant may encounter or be covered in in one of these events. This grain and grit not only represents the physical material, but also illustrates that this is not suppose to be beautiful. These are not perfect glamorous prints. They’re not supposed to be.
The photographs are different then the ones you typically see from these events. Instead of being taken from the sidelines, or from a fixed location on the course, they are taken from the perspective of the runner. On the obstacles, in the mud and from the views the runners see. This gives the images a sense of familiarity to people in the sport, but also shows those who have yet to try it an idea of what it looks and feels like. The intent is to put the viewer right on the course, into the action and out of the comfort zone. The people in these images are not professional athletes. They are everyday people who are looking to be challenged. Hopefully, others will be motivated to get off the couch, get outside and challenge themselves in a new way.
All images are 8"x10" Gelatin Silver Prints