Bex Day photographs the beaming smiles and fading tans of Berlin's bodybuilders
- Lucy Bourton
- 30 July 2018
Bex Day’s photography portfolio zips between fashion editorials and documentary focused projects with aplomb. When it comes to the latter, Bex has found herself becoming the go-to-girl for capturing individuality amongst massed groups. Her most recent project is a brilliant example of this ability to assess both the unit and the whole.
Focusing her lens on Berlin’s super-buff, super-tanned bodybuilders, the work is set to be published in the King’s Review, a journal run out of Cambridge’s King’s College campus, that focuses on long form journalism that’s aided by in-depth research. Bex’s work – which depicts bodybuilding as a ritual – will be accompanied by newly commissioned poetry.
Written by Alexander Norton, The Human Edge is a poetic translation of Bex’s photography subject. It describes all the individual elements that build up the photographer’s series, in particular the physical strength of her subjects. “I want to be a power bird, with arms that stretch outward and pull,” and, “A multi-faceted face, you know that superhuman aesthetic mass equates strength.”
Exercise might be important to the bodybuilding community, but so is developing that all-important walnut-brown tan. Bex uses close-ups that display tanned, toned, glistening abs, and smears and reveals of paler skin that show up when fake tan meets gallons of sweat. It’s a characteristic Alexander has picked up on in her poetry piece too writing, “Names live in numbers, passing the road to a side of a bronze tan. Thirty four, pasting of paint, left behind the white face of pastel inhabitants. Simmered in the sun, desolation among pigment.”
Alexander also picks upon the constant smiles of bodybuilders too, a beaming grin that’s sometimes a little frightening. The unnatural element of the sport is then commented on too, a refreshing way of portraying what everyone’s thinking, but through poetry. “Form built on time like requirements and smile, for a centra placed on a three,” she writes towards the end of the poem. “Among three survive and only one, one day will begin to wilt like flower beds, passing at their outer edges, you raisin.”
Bex’s full series, accompanied by Alexander’s poem, will be published in the October issue of the King’s Review.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.