Bodies of Work

Katinka Herbert –
Reception & Book Signing: Saturday, March 2, 2-5pm

Exhibit: March 2 – April 20 , 2024

Bodies of WorkKatinKa Herbert

Opening Reception & Book Signing: Saturday, March 2, 2024, 2-5pm

Exhibit Dates: March 2 – April 20 , 2024

Location: Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott St. SF

Curators: Elena Norberg-Brown and Melissa Castro Keesor

SLAM – The Book

“Slam: Lucha Libre – Superheroes of the Ring”

Bodies of Work

This exhibition explores the commodification of athletic bodies. Bringing two projects into dialogue, Katinka Herbert delves into the lives of Mexican wrestlers and Cuban athletes. In doing so, her images capture the dilemma of physical performance: a tense relationship between economic necessity and the human form.

While some athletes experience their bodies as vehicles of financial stability and international travel, many grapple with unpredictable incomes, visa barriers, and the looming threat of career-ending injuries. As such, ‘Bodies of Work’ is a study of precarious labor. Here, lives that are ordinarily defined by movement are frozen in the photographic frame. Their muscles resonate with tension and potential; their poses strain under personal and political weight.

‘Slam’ This project offers unprecedented access to the stars of the Mexican wrestling scene. Notoriously secretive about their true identities, it follows these hyper-masculine stars from the drama of the ring to the intimacy of their own homes. Eight years in the making, Slam is a story of trust. In documenting each costumed character, the project unmasks their private lives and alter-egos. Because concealed behind each disguise, many legends of Lucha Libre are a mess. Their foreheads are covered in scar tissue, their lives are marked by self-harm. This series brings a dignified lens to the characters hidden behind a uniquely Mexican ritual of performance, spectacle and machismo. 

‘The Movers’ This project explores the subject of mobility through portraits of Cuba’s top athletes. Their lives are dictated by movement: running, dancing, leaping and jumping. For a lucky few, this opens up new kinds of mobility – geographic, economic and social. But most of them remain trapped: frozen inside a communist regime. The Movers captures this dilemma. Each subject is perfectly motionless within the frame. Each static body resonates with tension and potential. Their bodies are either a means of escape – a ticket to freedom – or the very obstacle to it. 

This exhibition invites us to consider the labor conditions that determine the lives of professional athletes, and the economic architectures that construct their performing bodies. These are bodies under tension: suspended between action and transaction, poised between freedom and constraint.

KatinKa Herbert – Katinka is a commercial portrait photographer based in London. Her projects explore identity, performance and extroversion. Brought up among filmmakers and circus performers, she is fascinated by characters who visibly manufacture their own identities: wrestlers, cross-dressers, movie stars and burlesque dancers. Her work is highly-constructed, immersing her subjects in a world of seduction, theatre and enigmatic humor.

This approach has fueled a highly-acclaimed career in commercial portraiture, capturing A-listers from Beyonce to Brian Blessed, Hulk Hogan to Heston Blumenthal. Alongside these assignments, she regularly works on commission for clients such as Adidas, English National Opera, Coutts, Casely-Hayford, Iris Worldwide, Gillette, Jaguar Land Rover, Dazed & Confused, The Observer, Guardian, Telegraph, The Times, Wunderman Thompson and Martin Agency.

Her accolades include a catalog of international award shows. Recent highlights include Portrait of Humanity (2019), Portrait of Britain ( 2018), IPA Lucie awards (2018), Taylor Wessing shortlist (2018), LensCulture (2018), SIPA (2018), AOP Open (2017) and the Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition (2017) Finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards (2020) and Shortlisted for the Alpha Female Award, Sony World Photography Awards (2020). 

Exhibit photos printed by Point101