Oil Wrestling By Ben McNutt

Baltimore-based photographer Ben McNutt gives us an intimate insight in the world of wrestling. Inspired by historic images and Greco-Roman sculpture, he photographs his own subtly erotic wrestling scenarios.

Historically the oldest sporting event in the world, wrestling holds culturally and socially significant subtexts, such as power, athleticism, and desire. McNutt’s in-depth, artistic exploration of this sport throughout history demonstrates a natural obsession with these subtexts. Ben McNutt traveled to Turkey to document oil wrestling, creating a dialogue between the perception of masculinity and the complexities that have bound its image. ​The ​photographs show​ ​the athletes touching​ ​and embracing each other during the fight. McNutt ​doesn’t view​ ​the​ ​sport​ ​and​ ​wrestlers as​ ​strong,​ ​traditional,​ ​masculine and ​powerful​ ​figures​, he rather sees his role as a photographer in ​exploring the​ ​​wrestling​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​its​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​masculinity. The series stands as a part of a larger body that chronicles the human fascination with the athletic form. ​Because​ ​of​ ​wrestling’s incredible​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​history,​ ​religion,​ ​athleticism,​ ​culture,​ ​nationalism, the artwork shows the connections we all have on a global scale.

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All images © Ben McNutt

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