Fight by Francesca Yorke
After meeting the Brazilian fighter, Jean Silva in 2002, I began documenting the world of ultimate fighting; photographing for the last seven years in Europe, Mexico and the United States.
Before I became involved in this project, I viewed the sport as base, one dimensional, and void of grace and substance. What I actually discovered was a multi-faceted community of compassion, inspiration and art within the framework of violence.
One of the reasons I wanted to shoot this subject was to dispel the myth that ultimate fighting was simply a brutal activity involving cruelty. I felt compelled to reveal what I witnessed; a complex & dramatic world celebrating physicality and manhood where often moments of great tenderness occur. During one World Championship I observed a particular moment when defending world champion Mark Weir appeared on the verge of tears having just beaten his close friend and opponent Carlos Newton. The referee forcibly held his arm up when he received the championship belt. Mark looked to the floor utterly dejected.
There seems to be a correlation in these photographic images between extreme violence and an intimacy verging on biblical rapture. What fascinates me is how such a violent sport can appear so calmly graceful and aesthetically beautiful when captured in a single moment.
Francesca Yorke is a Santa Fe, NM based artist.
To view more of Francesca's work, please visit her website.