My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

Fencing… not a pointless sport.

"The Point"

“The Point”

As a photographer, I seek out new places, people and creative concepts where ever I go. This could be overseas, in the US or, in most instances, very close to home. Living in a state forest has many pros, but one con would be that you have to drive just to get milk, let alone find a unique venue as in this post. Driving is not always just traffic and mindless waiting at lights. It can be a welcome activity after being in a classroom for five days. One such drive took me north along the Delaware river to a crossing point into PA, this crossing is made up of two towns… New Hope on the PA side and Lambertville on the Jersey side. While exploring the Jersey route, I came upon a very interesting structure, and after a closer inspection, found it to be a training facility for fencing. It was closed at that time but I took note of the high windows which I believed would let in enough light to shoot and possibly stop any action within. I waited a couple of months, while corresponding with the owner of the fencing company BCAF, and was delighted to be able to photographically document the following activities.

I made two visits to make sure the light and the fencers were well covered by my lens. The light inside was almost too bright at times, but the alternative would have been worse. Viewing the rhythm of this graceful sport took some time. Just trying to get into position so I could align the light with the fencers took some refining and adjusting. I quickly found the atmosphere both soothing yet explosive. The coaches and students worked very well together, so well in fact, that I could feel the mutual respect they displayed toward each other. All fencers’ faces were rendered almost emotionless because they were hidden by black mesh. I was very surprised that, with the right light and detailed processing afterward, these featureless combatants came alive. Their code of discipline, responsibility and respect, coupled with good sportsmanship, was evident throughout my visit. It was refreshing to see the bumping of elbows and the saluting of ones opponent when matches were completed. This for me was the essence of understanding sport and respect given to your adversary.

Without getting in too deep with the history of fencing, I would like to point out, what other athletic pastime can be portrayed as both an art form and sport? Something with this much discipline seems to both educate the mind as well as the body, therefore… it could never be viewed as pointless.


12 responses

  1. I like that you took matters into your own hands and created the situation for this shoot. You once said that you like doing action events and this certainly fits that category … which really suits your style. I like how you put together complete stories with your collections. Great job as always!


    March 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    • I have always held to the motto ‘What’s the worst they could say “NO”. Happy they opened up the event for me… the contrast in sky light and artificial light was almost enough to put a damper on the creativity side… real happy I pushed through it.


      April 20, 2014 at 11:12 am

  2. i don’t know what is more creative, the title of this post or the photographs. 🙂 It is too bad you weren’t around when Life magazine was in its golden age. You probably would have been on staff. Nice work telling the visual story of this sport.


    March 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    • Really appreciate the ‘life’ comment… not sure the journalist lifestyle would match my personality.


      April 20, 2014 at 11:08 am

  3. Lisa S

    Awesome images captured. Great narrative and clever title. Nice to see young folks (especially girls) participating in this uniquely disciplined sport. Thanks for giving the viewer a glimpse into the artistry of fencing.

    My favs. The Point, 24 & 7996

    P.S. Clicked on your fencing link. Interesting history of the sport, rules, techniques, weapons, etc.


    March 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    • Thanks Lisa… happy to see you followed the link. It is why I put them there… I also like it when others do the same so I can get a sense of the background history.


      April 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

  4. Pat

    Great shots. That looks like a fun photo session.


    March 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    • It was fun… as most of my projects should be 🙂


      April 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

  5. I noticed all the children had a very confident yet peaceful look on their faces. I liked that. Had to do a double take of the photo with the two people fencing in front of the shadows painted on the wall. I am guessing that was your intention. Coolio…………… Unique


    March 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

    • Glad you caught the shadow play… thanks.


      April 20, 2014 at 11:03 am

  6. Mike,

    Well done. Makes me want to go out and photograph the sport.



    March 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    • I just wanted to try on the helmet… and then could not find my hands 🙂


      March 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm

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