Story - NOMINEE: Alain Schroeder
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Kushti is a traditional form of Indian wrestling. Practiced in an Akhara, the wrestlers, under the supervision of a guru, dedicate their bodies and minds to Kushti on average for 6 to 36 months. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers or Pelwhans enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon and ghee (clarified butter). This clay, representing Mother Earth is renewed every 2 years. Before every match, each wrestler covers the body of his adversary with this earth. During combat, the coated bodies meld with the color of the arena. It is also a spiritual quest and a spartan lifestyle that requires rigorous discipline as in all martial arts. Experienced wrestlers set the example and transmit their skills in the pit and in the community to younger boys (7-8 years old) and new recruits, whereby promoting camaraderie, respect, solidarity and fraternity.
Traditional martial arts and older forms of wrestling are quickly losing the battle to modern globalized sports. I am documenting these once popular sports before they completely disappear.
Given their similarities, there are numerous forms of combat to be explored all over the world.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the disciplines and countries I plan to cover:
Bokator in Cambodia, traditionnal boxing in Laos, Muay Boran in Thailand, Rakhine boxing and Kyin wrestling in Myanmar, traditionnal wrestling in Mongolia, Turkey, Iran and in Africa as well as martial arts in China.
I will shoot in Cambodia in November 2016 followed by, India to cover Kalarippayatt (martial art) from December 2016 - January 2017.
Alain Schroeder is a Belgian photojournalist born in 1955. In 1989 he founded Reporters (http://www.reporters.be), a well-known photo agency in Belgium. He has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Persia, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe, Natural Sites of Europe, etc. Belgian titles include, « Le Carnaval de Binche vu par 30 Photographes », and « Processions de Foi, Les Marches de l’Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse ». Publications include National Geographic, Geo, Paris-Match,…
He has won many international awards including a Japan Nikon Award 2017 for the Rohingya series, the TPOTY Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2017 with the series Living for Death and the series Kushti, and 1st prize at World Press Photo 2018 for the series Kid Jockeys in the category Sports Stories,… and participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide.
He is represented in Belgium by Reporters and in France by the photo agency HEMIS. His website is https://alainschroeder.myportfolio.com and Instagram; alainschroeder