Since the completion of his last series depicting high school cheerleaders and football players, Brian Finke has been traveling across the country photographing male and female bodybuilders at both professional and amateur competitions. As with his earlier work, the artist transforms what might be a standard photojournalistic project into something much more complex and wholly unique. Expert attention to color and composition is set-off by Finke’s signature lighting, lending these images an immediate and unmistakable power. However, their ultimate strength again derives from the artist’s lighthearted humor which breathes life into the photographs.
In many ways, Most Muscular is a direct continuation of Finke’s earlier interest in and exploration of athleticism—the pageantry and ritual, in addition to the artifice and irony of diversity within uniformity. At its most fundamental, this project comments upon our society’s obvious obsession with the body and appearances. Finke’s subjects have taken cultural standards of beauty to heart, and then pushed them beyond all comprehensible limits. Yet, without judgment or reproof, Finke opens our eyes to the inanity of our own obsessions.