John Joyce

Solo Exhibition Award Winner

John Joyce (lives Collingswood, NJ) is skilled in numerous traditional, non-silver processes including gum bichromate, cyanotype, anthotype and platinum palladium – for which he is best known. An analog aficionado, he uses medium format film to make contact prints that are intricate in detail. Joyce has photographed around the world, in such far flung locales as Morocco, Mexico, Cuba, Turkey, Syria, Peru and Egypt as well as for decades in the Pine Barrens of his home state of New Jersey. His long-term project “Gimnasio Nuevo Jordan” was a LensCulture Portrait Awards 2021 Finalist. His works are held in the private collections of artist Ann Hamilton and the Mexican collector Pedro Slim. Joyce is represented in The Print Center’s Gallery Store.

Statement from the Artist:
Many of these images are from a portrait series of boxers taken in a barrio gym, Gimnasio Nuevo Jordan, in Mexico City over the past five years. Before taking photographs, I trained at the gym to get to know its members and gain their trust (if not their respect for my shabby boxing skills). What immediately struck me was the camaraderie among the boxers and their trainers as well as the families and friends who would accompany them to watch. Although closely integrated and bound by earned admiration, friendship and love, this tightknit community welcomed me and my camera. Located in an unmarked building in a barrio where chickens are processed for area markets, the modest Gimnasio Nuevo Jordan is renowned for producing champion fighters, and it is not uncommon for visiting prizefighters or lucha libre stars to drop in to train paying homage to its rich history. On subsequent visits, I would come to learn how the gimnasio is not only a place to fine tune physiques and sharpen boxing skills. Providing a sense of belonging and reprieve from hardscrabble lives, it is also a sanctuary for hopes and dreams. Fittingly, there is a shrine in the gym to the ubiquitous Neustra Señora de Guadalupe, whose image presides over and blesses the multiple acts of communion, sacrifice, and grace happening below her. Over the years, I have had the privilege of photographing dozens of boxers at Gimnasio Nuevo Jordan. Some only once and others on several occasions. For the men and women who have collaborated with me for numerous sittings, it is interesting to note their fluctuations in weight class as well as the changes wrought by the triumphs and defeats of time. Using existing light, each portrait is taken after the boxer has finished a grueling three hour training session consisting of extensive bag work, sparring in the ring and calisthenics. Rather than photographing the boxers in motion, I use these moments of exhausted repose to portray their dedication to the honing of their bodies and craft and their dignity in the pursuit of glory and social ascendency despite the slim chance of their attainment.

John Joyce: Jab, Cross, Hook, on view at The Print Center January 21 – March 12, 2022.