Matthew DeFeo: American Standard
Bodybuilders are always on show. Their work literally lives on them as they navigate the world with a unique and dedicated lifestyle. On stage as they bare it all, hard lights emphasize their slick, oiled mussels, sculpted and intimidating. Here we have American Standard, a photo series by Matthew DeFeo that documents the behind-the-scenes life of bodybuilders as they train to compete. And while I don’t necessarily believe that these bodybuilders have fully relaxed in front of the camera, ceasing to perform, I do believe that DeFeo’s photographs have given a softer touch to one of our more shocking sports.
Matthew DeFeo (b. 1993) is a photographer based in Denver, Colorado. He received his BA in Photocommunications from St. Edwards University (2015) in Austin, Texas. Matthew is interested in documenting the interworking communities in various sub cultures. His personal connection to his subjects is very apparent in his workflow. He uses a combination of large format, and medium format camera techniques. This creates a more genuine engagement when working in the various communities. In return these methods help glorify the subject matter that helps the viewer connect with the images in the same way that Matthew does when photographing his subjects. His work has been shown in various group exhibitions around the United States.
American Standard examines and celebrates the individuals who make up the Central, and North Texas community of bodybuilders. I offer the public an inside look at what these men and women go through to prepare for a competition date. As a photographer I am interested in showing the process, but also moving them away from an objectifying light that the competitions are often associated with. This way the viewer has a better sense of the individuality of the subject, and sheds light on the laborious process that each bodybuilding competitor goes through to develop their physique.
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Glenna Gordon: Winner of the 2019 Aftermath GrantJanuary 14th, 2019