Who breaks with social conventions quickly becomes an outsider. Everyone is expected to play the role assigned to them. This applies especially to gender-based roles ascribed to us. Men are men and women are women. The first female artists, for instance, were called »painting women«, a derogatory term used for women in the early twentieth century who publicly exhibited their art. Today, more women graduate from art schools than men. In a lot of other professional fields equality between the sexes has been established. But the world of sports still seems to be very conservative. This is exactly where Sophie Kirchner’s discreet portrait »Male Sport« starts. Here, it is not about soccer or boxing, where women are by now reasonably accepted. It is about a sport, where men can still be real »guys«: water polo.
Kirchner photographs her subject right after a game. The woman’s pupils are wide open, the adrenaline is still pumping dramatically in her blood. The image seem to cater to expected clichés. But one should be careful, because the photographer’s intention is exactly the opposite. She is not working with a specious emancipatory agenda and she does not want to simply provoke. This portrait is all about showing a woman who does what she loves. Nothing more, but also nothing less.