Gunther Hang’s BRUTAL BEAUTY: Faces of Australian Roller Derby

Gunther Hang’s exhibition of 18 large colour photographs uniquely capture the raw energy of the world’s fastest growing female sport — women’s flat-track Roller Derby. Now at Sun Studios, Alexandria. Artist talk May 13, 1 pm.

Commercial portrait photographer Gunther Hang’s ongoing project stemmed from the one-dimensional characterisation of the sport.

“It’s easy to focus solely on it’s inherent violent nature, but what you are denying is the validation of a large, rich and well-supported community of dedicated participants from all walks of life,” he said.
“It is my goal to bridge this gap through portraiture that focuses solely on the tangibility of it’s individuals to a wider audience.”

Shot around Australia over 14 months, the exhibition showcases a community of strong, confident, everyday women deeply dedicated to an incredible sport.
Having seen a friend featured on a television segment on roller derby, Hang’s interest was sparked.

“Riveted by ignorance, I was so enthralled with the concept of the sport and its culture, I immediately contacted her about the possibility of access. Lucky for me the rest is history.”

Portraits aside, shooting derby is extremely challenging.

“Access is limited and allocated, light is often worse than poor but the positive aspect is you are shooting an evolving, dynamic sport which makes you become a better photographer,” he said.

What started out as a simple excursion into a new sub culture has quickly become a passion. Hang is one of the official photographers for Sydney Roller Derby League (SRDL) and an avid supporter of the game.

“In commercial sport there is such blandness in uniformity, derby even though it is highly regulated unbeknown to common eye is a sport that still respects individuality,’ “What I have found inspiring is the level of dedication to the sport.
The participants train and ‘bout’ 4-5 nights a week, yet come from diverse backgrounds such as nurses, librarians and lawyers. And it’s this dichotomy which is visually so appealing & lends itself to the title of the exhibition Brutal Beauty.

These stoic portraits celebrate this dynamic sport in all its diversity and colour.

Sun Studios Australia, 42 Maddox St, Alexandria NSW 2015. Open Daily 9AM-4PM Artist Talk 13 May 1PM

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Image detail: Gary Ramage