New A Life, Still Submission!
Noah David Bau
14, 86 lbs
Rhode Island School of Design
Archival pigment print
Artist statement about the piece
The photograph – “14, 86 lbs.” – is part of a series titled This Is My Body. The series is comprised of portraits depicting young professional Muay Thai boxers in Bangkok. I made the images over the past three years at a training camp in the city’s most notorious slum.
Most of the boys I photographed have been orphaned or neglected and discarded. Their sole means of survival depends upon their success in the ring. The boys are subjected to grueling workouts in oppressive heat; their bodies endure brutal punishment; and they are trained to be ferocious and merciless.
These boys are at once: admired and unwanted; savage and forlorn; innocent and jaded; cultivated and commodified. I was inspired to create this series to illuminate these contradictions. My aim is to deliver the viewer to the intersection of adolescence, commerce, beauty, and brutality.
While portraits are seldom categorized as still life, the conspicuous objectification of my subject places this portrait well within the realm of the still life. The name of the show, a life, still, might serve as an apt question to ask of the young fighter’s existence, given the extent to which his body is exploited for profit.
Short bio about the artist
Noah David Bau is an American photographer who divides his time between Bangkok and Boston. In 2012, exhibitions featuring Mr. Bau’s work have included group shows at the Houston Center for Photography, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and the Minneapolis Photography Center. He was selected by the Photographic Resource Center to exhibit at the New York Photo Festival. Among a number of distinctions earned this year, Mr. Bau received the Arthur Griffin Legacy Award (best in show) in the Griffin Museum of Photography’s 18th Annual Juried Exhibition.