For a group of teenage boys in the sleepy suburbs of New Jersey, the Edge Hoboken Gymnasium is a mecca of solidarity. The sport of wrestling defines the parameters of masculinity that they dance on, the fading line between boyhood and becoming young men. Photographer extraordinaire Danielle Levitt
captures the unity between the team in a series of intimate photographs for our new Autumn Winter issue.
Remember that sound, the squeaking of friction between rubber soles and polished floors? The smells of sweat and testosterone being diluted by the cheers of names that reverberate through the room? It is the grit and determination of sportsmanship that defines wrestling; hard-bodied locks and pins. Heads down, look straight into your opponents eyes and wait for the whistle. Defined by its raw masculinity, the beauty of this sport is often overlooked. Every muscle becomes tense, every step is a manoeuvre that requires intense precision and the depths of the mind are pushed to their limits. But most of all, it's also about the camaraderie.
Wrestling is the most classic form of sport and the highest display of unfiltered manhood, far removed from the melodramatic televised versions. The boys resemble classic statues of Olympian fighters, their skill connecting them to their ancestors who would fight in Grecian courts. Frozen in a moment of pure adrenaline before the lens, the boys find friendship in their competition. They are tested and literally pushed to become the greatest form of themselves and afterwards there's always time for pizza.
Photography by Danielle Levitt.
Produced by Stephanie Porto.
Casting by The Pull.
Grooming by Corey Tuttle at Honey Artist.
Requir van der Merwe
Special thanks to Jeff Marsh of Edge School of Wrestling, Hoboken, NJ.
Online introduction by Matthew Regan.