Capturing Senegal's Strongest

Swedish photographer, Lasse Burell, “more or less stumbled” into the sandpit of Senegalese wrestling. La Lutte – literally translated as “The Fight” – is Burell's new photo-book, capturing a duel of strength and beauty amongst the West African country’s national sport – “Even bigger than football!” riffs Burrell. A no-frills fighting tradition that has developed from ancient pre-battle warm-up's to a stadium-worthy sport in an artful display of agility, strength and ability. Bold shoulders smatter against the sand, thick thighs entwine in aggression as eyes are gridlocked on their opponent in this aggressive and persuasive battle of honour. “I was intrigued by the beauty in their movements and fascinated by their hard training without any facilities, apart from the sand and their partners,” says Burell. A machismo display of muscle transpires in Burell's luxurious black and white page-turner – a hybrid of pure power and poetic grace. Shots of smiling faces and slip-on shoes used as cheap boxing glove alternatives are a refreshing reminder of characters and the community itself. Juggling day jobs as they moonlight at night wrestlers, the community reveres these characters as local heroes. Below, we chat to the photographer about his new book and finding beauty in the battlefield.

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Dazed

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