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Nick  Simko

SPE Member since 2014
Member Chapter: National


Using both lens-based photography and digital imaging, Football is an exercise in representing normative able-bodied white cisgender male formations in the terms of race, gender, bodily ability, and orientation. I wanted to see what it might look like if I made a body of work that visually corporealized these formations instead of continuing to privilege them as universal, transparent, and all-encompassing.

For this project, I used a digital camera to collect imagery that is culturally associated with notions of body, identification, and naturalness. I then recontextualized these elements through digital collage. While my process usually takes place in a studio, this project was particularly complex as all of the figures in this series were photographed during live football games.

Visually isolated away from the din of the football field and surrounded by floral forms, each football player is the main subject of a composition that hovers between the languages of historic European painting and contemporary digital imaging. These images echo the scale and style of monumental portraits and tapestries, citing works designed for the sixteenth-century palaces of the white European ruling class. Computerized filters, on the other hand, approximate the nuance of painted brushstrokes.

Ultimately, Football is about portraiture as a process that renders human bodies as fluctuating surfaces upon which culture projects, incises, and embeds its ideals. At the same time the work is a challenge to the normative frames-of-reference that profit from concise, legible, and streamlined notions of identity, body, and representation.

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