Chase My Yellow Kite - Online Photography Newspaper
Spring Issue 2014

Female Fighters

“It’s probably been the one single thing which alone has had the biggest positive influence on my adult life. Kickboxing has made me consider more what will help me and what will harm me in my life”.

Female Fighters is an on-going project exploring the world of females who fight and challenging our perceptions of female stereotypes. Initially it was conceived as a public photography exhibition which engages with its audience through a variety of mediums. It captures female kick boxers in the moments post sparring, focusing on this as a transitional time frame where the women are in between two worlds – the realms of the purely physical and emotional of fighters post sparring, and their everyday world of roles and responsibilities.

The sitters stare squarely out from the frame, the images demanding attention. Stripped away of sexualisation of any kind, results in purity of emotion, and an essence of peace, which has been found through a form of controlled aggression.

A complete archive of the project including a compelling set of over twenty portraits, multimedia exhibits, an artists zine plus posters used as part of the exhibition ‘poster trail’ can be seen HERE. The poster trail emulates the long tradition of boxing posters promoting fights to the public, these posters were pasted in prevalent and sometimes controversial street locations. The Female Fighters poster trail creates a dialogue between the audience – the fighters – and the photographer where these unexpected ‘public street encounters’ create a poignant layer of audience engagement outside of the gallery space.

The photo-film and interview excerpts provide a reflective journey into these women’s worlds adding another dimension to challenge stereotypes about female fighters. We are given enlightening glimpses into the slightly unexpected world of training, fighting and competing through sensitive and dignified insights revealing the motivations of those involved.

Amelia Shepherd is a freelance documentary photographer living in Brighton. She is funded by the Arts Council England and regular exhibits her work. She combines commercial portraiture commissions with personal ongoing projects.

words and photography by Amelia Shepherd – 14/04/14

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