Amy Elkins has been shooting some groundbreaking work exploring gender roles and masculine identity. In her latest series, ‘Elegant Violence’ she turns to men’s rugby. Elkins writes:
These works are an extension of my ongoing exploration into masculine identity. In this particular project I am fascinated with rugby, a brutal contact sport rich in tradition, dating back to the 1800’s. I’m interested in the balance between athleticism, modes of violence or aggression and varying degrees of vulnerability within a sport where brutal body contact is fundamental to the game. I am also interested in the history of the game and how it has long been described as both traditional and barbaric, elegant and violent.
Inspired by vintage studio portraits of rugby players dating from the 1870’s to 1930’s I have set up daylight studios on the field in order to make portraits of young rugby players immediately after the game. In doing so, I am aiming to capture signs of an 80 minute game that often involves intense physicality and aggressive contact without the use of pads or helmets, focusing on the subtly in their expression and body language, the dirt on their uniforms and the wounds they come away with.