188.8.131.52: American Cheerleaders & Football Players
Over the past several years artist, Brian Finke, has traveled across the country photographing high school and college level cheerleaders and football players. Spending a period of a few days to an entire week with a particular squad or team, the subjects eventually become quite comfortable with the presence of the camera, allowing Finke to capture a variety of wonderfully candid moments. Yet, due to Finke’s distinct mix of artificial and natural light, these documentary images possess a look of artful styling.
Finke’s work functions on a number of levels. In one sense, these are highly ambivalent images, revealing diversity in uniformity, while also underscoring aspects of extreme conformity, as manifested by the construction of individual identities in the image of the team. Addressing social behaviors, self-definition, and sexuality, the artist documents the rocky trail of adolescence. Finke has commented, “In my photos, these teens struggle between being part of a group and defining themselves.”
However, in conveying such, Finke is a master of imbuing photographs with humor and life. He avoids casting a judgmental eye, choosing rather lighthearted stories told with respect and hilarity.