by Taylor Kay Johnson
King’s Boxing Gym is a sweaty sanctuary tucked under an overpass. Many of the buildings in the neighborhood are sagging and bowed; graffiti colors the streets. The interior of the gym mirrors these characteristics – cardio machines are held together with duct tape, heavy bags are split and patched back together, plywood sheets on the floor are so well worn they appear to be marbled. Photographs and posters line the walls, instantly exposing the history of the space and the legends within. There are veterans in this establishment that grew into men and women within the walls of this warehouse. King’s is a fighter’s yellow brick road.
Boxing is strength as well as performance. It is bravery as well as vulnerability. I am interested in the making of a fighter, rather than the result. The moments before a bout can be more complex and charged than the fight itself. Each contender, young and old, has a hunger for something great. My photographs memorialize these fighters before they become kings.
Taylor Johnson is a Sacramento born photographer currently living and working in Oakland, California. Raised in a blue collar Christian household, religious themes remain a ubiquitous source of inspiration within her practice. Enamored by the specific brand of Americana unique to the Central Valley of California, Taylor Johnson’s work is truly obsessed with the West Coast’s role of “telephone” in the tradition it represents.