Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Exhibition: “Pride of The Black Country” @Fotofilia

Now here’s an exhibition I know quite a bit about. “Pride of The Black Country” is an exhibition of photographs by… erm… me (David Rann).

I first photographed Priory Park Amateur Boxing Club a few years ago for a uni project. At the time I couldn’t honestly profess to be a huge boxing fan but I quickly realised there was more to this place than just the sport.

In this crumbling shed on the edge of  Dudley’s Priory Park, something amazing was going on. Youngsters from every concievable background were training side by side under the watchful eye of Paul Gough and his team of dedicated trainers.

I returned in the Autumn of 2010 to continue my documentation of this extraordinary group of people. I was told by parents how the club had transformed their previously wayward kids, how police officers had brought along youngsters, saying “we can’t do anything with him – can you?”, how there was now a huge waiting list for places, and how club members were competing – and winning – at increasingly high levels.

This just confirmed what I’d seen with my own eyes – that the trainers somehow commanded the respect and attention of these youngsters in a way that parents, teachers, police and other authority figures could only dream of. I saw a well-mannered, disciplined, focussed and hard-working group of young people that spent their spare time and spare energy working towards a clear and common goal.

I watched and photographed as they trained until exhausted, and as they competed in the ring against other young fighters from around the country.

Yes, there are pictures of the boxing itself. But I have chosen to concentrate more on the unique relationship between the young boxers and the trainers. This is a study not of violence and aggression, but of pride, self-respect and purpose.

The title of the show comes from the club’s slogan, emblazoned on their kit, and in my opinion, very appropriate.

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4 responses

  1. Sally

    I am really looking forward to seeing this. The ‘teasers’ look fab!

    December 21, 2010 at 10:44 pm

  2. XK50

    I returned in the Autumn of 2012 to continue my documentation of this extraordinary group of people. I was told by spouses how the club had transformed their previously wayward partners, how police officers had brought along pensioners, saying “we can’t do anything with him – can you?”, how there was now a huge waiting list for places, and how club members were competing – and winning – at increasingly high levels. – fotofilia 2012?

    December 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

    • Haha! Now you mention it, John, there are a few similarities aren’t there?

      December 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

  3. Jeff Boston

    Looking forward to this exhibition.

    jeff

    December 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm

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