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March's Featured Photo of the Month!

Title: Leaving it all in the ring

Taken: February 28th, 2016 in Providence, RI

Shot with: Nikon D-3S camera body,

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Shot at: 27 mm, 1/320 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 6400

Anyone who knows me knows that I like two things more than perhaps anything else in life: taking photos and professional wrestling.

It's rare that I get to combine my two passions but, when I do, it's always a special occasion.

So you can imagine my delight when I was given a chance to photograph a professional wrestling event in February at Aurora in downtown Providence.

The assignment was a simple one. My job was to take photos of one of the two wrestlers in the main event of the show but I approached the shoot as something much more than that. To me, this was my chance to see what I could do with decent access at a wrestling show and my professional camera.

I'll be honest. It's always been a dream of mine to shoot a real professional wrestling event.

As a lifelong fan of the sport, I love everything about professional wrestling. I love the characters, I love the storytelling. I love the athleticism. To me, it's the perfect blend between a television show and an art form. As such, I've always felt my particular talents in composition and action photography would lend itself naturally to shoot the events but, to be completely honest, it's next to impossible to break into this world.

And, worse, with my hectic schedule, I usually just don't have the time to pursue it.

And that's why I loved shooting the Beyond Wrestling event so much. Not only did I finally have the type of access I've always craved (Most time wrestling fans are restricted in where they can shoot from–their seats–and only allowed to bring rinky dink point-and-shoot cameras) but I finally had a free weekend and could focus exclusively on it.

In the above photo, which I feel captures the spirit of the event perfectly, you can see JT Dunn, the subject of my assignment, laid out cold in the middle of the ring following a brutal main event match.

This photo, to me, tells the story of professional wrestling better than I ever could. These guys leave it all in the ring on a nightly basis. Sometimes it's in front of millions of people in attendance and watching at home. This time, though, it was for the delight of 200 people in a tiny club in the smallest state in the country.

But you'd never know that by the effort they all gave. If there was ever any doubt how much these particular athletes cared about their craft, it was dispelled moments into this show.

And that's why I couldn't help but choose it as my favorite photo of the month. It's simple. It's different. It's everything I love about photography and professional wrestling put together.

This may have been my first real professional wrestling shoot but I can promise you this: It won't be my last.

Beyond the Lens: A blog by Paul J. Spetrini

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