Athlete

Howard Schatz, Author, Beverly Ornstein, Author, George Vecsey, Foreword by HarperCollins $59.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-019553-3
This striking coffee-table photo gallery looks at the human body in its fastest, strongest and most agile forms. The male and female athletes pictured here are pinnacles of physical achievement in sports from table tennis to sumo wrestling; they appear oiled, sweaty and clad in skimpy black briefs and sports bras as they leap, sprint, swing and flex in minimalist surroundings, with only the essential paraphernalia of their game. Schatz, an art and commercial photographer known for his underwater photography of dancers and models in books like Water Dance and Pool Light, turns away from the sylph-like subjects of his previous work to look not only at the classical physiques of swimmers and boxers but at spindly marathoners, bloated wrestlers, bulging bodybuilders and others whose eccentric or even grotesque body types are required for specialized athletic performance. His interest in the body as an abstract form continues with geometricist action montages and close-ups of bunched muscles and strangely foreign-looking body parts. The resulting pictures are sometimes beautiful and sometimes not, but they are always arresting. Brief essays by sportswriters George Vecsey and Ira Berkow engagingly explore the arduous discipline and intellectual acuity demanded of champion athletes. Over 200 color and b&w photographs.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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