Striking Portraits of Adolescent Boxers Before and After the Fight

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Boxing, pugilism, beating the crap out of each other — call it what you like, but it’s certainly a fascinating sport that has divided audiences on its merits for decades. Boxing matches rely on simple setup — one that doesn’t require much equipment and puts the focus on two people in what writer Katherine Dunn has called a “ritualized crisis.”

Nicolai Howalt’s double portraits of boys aged 11-17 pre and post-boxing matches make use of the sport’s primal simplicity. Each boxer’s image is set against a plain, white background, with the subject staring directly into the camera. Some of the photos are subtle, with just a slick sheen of sweat and tousled mop of hair indicating physical exertion. Other images show bloody noses and split lips, which is more jarring to see on the younger faces — particularly since many of the boys still have their chubby cheeks and teenage acne-ridden skin. On the older boys, the before and after effects can be pretty intense, particularly in the eyes. See what we mean in the gallery past the break.

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt [Spotted via HouHouHaHa]

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt

Image credit: Nicolai Howalt