With less than a month to go until the London Olympics, the nation’s eyes are fixed on sporting pursuits and lady of all things leather, Ally Capellino has hers firmly placed on the boxing ring.
Click images to enlarge.
Laying down her tools and hanging-up her apron for a beat, Ally has turned her attention to producing a large-format photo book named ‘Boxers’. Through a series of intimate and honest photographs taken by Alex Sturrock, the book celebrates London’s fit and fighting boxing community. Featuring some of the country’s most successful current and ex-fighters and shining the spotlight on clubs across London, beaming welterweight champ Sylvester Mitte (pictured top right) shares pages with Camberwell contender Charlie Edwards (pictured top left). All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support the London Ex-Boxers Association and those inspired to glove-up and go a few rounds in the ring can look fighting fit by picking-up one of ten Cappelino boxing bags available from Liberty and in Ally’s stores in East and West London (more info here).
Attending the launch at Shoreditch House yesterday, several of those featured in the book including 1948 Olympian Ron Cooper and brightly shining boxing talent, Stephanie Louis Fernand told tales of their time in the ring. Still shuffling like he did in his heyday, Ron bounced about the stage and lent candid insight into the secret of his knock-out success, “I trained on custard and jelly… To me custard and jelly is like steak!”. Full to bursting on the yellow stuff, i-D online went a few quick rounds with Ally to find out more about the project…
Could you describe the ʻBoxersʼ project in five words? Warmth and generosity in a tough sport (7 words!).
What was it that initially drew you towards boxing? We were looking for a sport that gave us a local connection to get involved with over the London Olympics. The fact that women were competing as part of the games for the first time was an added interest.
When did you first encounter Alex Sturrockʼs work? Guy Gormley introduced me to his work and I went to see his live project at the Hannah Barry Gallery in Peckham. I thought it had the straight-forwardness and rawness that suited the idea.
Can you describe the working relationship with Alex in the development of the book? We introduced Alex to various subjects as possibilities for the photography. He visited lots of local gyms and talked and made connections with the characters who interested him. He is very brave and direct in his approach and he made an initial edit of his favourite photographs. We then worked through the final edit and order with Guy and Thomas from Brickhouse to get the balance and flow of the pictures running coherently.
In what way does London inspire you creatively? The people are the main inspiration for me in London. We live in such a mix that it’s constantly challenging and inspirational at the same time.
Which Olympic sport are you most excited to watch this summer? I haven’t got any tickets I’m afraid, so I can take my pick on the telly. Swimming and gymnastics I always find the most exciting.
Who would you most like to see go a few rounds in the ring? Do you mean who would I like to see take a beating? Hmmm, would be interesting to see how Bob Diamond fared I suppose.
If you were a sport what sport would you be? I dream of being better at yoga – does that count as a sport?
Photography: Alex Sturrock