The Photographic Journal


Essay 474 • Dec 24th 2020

Reynold is a bodybuilder who pursues an extremely disciplined training and diet regime involving periods of fasting on fruit and water. For him ‘exercising is like breathing’. This series of portraits is an exploration of the archetypal masculine physique; how the sculpted, muscular image of the ideal man from ancient Greece still endures today and for many men is still considered a symbol of strength, power and virility.

I met up with Reynold several times over the last year to photograph him, each time allowing us to build more of a connection and to experiment a little further together with movement and postures. My approach to portraiture is instinctive, I like to use my surroundings and see what unfolds naturally with the subject rather than plan too much in advance. Working on medium format film makes the process more spontaneous as it removes the temptation of trying to achieve the ‘perfect’ shot that comes with digital.


I’m Olivia Thompson, a self-taught editorial and commercial photographer based in London. My photographic interests are fairly broad spanning documentary, portraiture, interiors, still life and food. I’m inspired by work which has a strong visual aesthetic with emphasis on colour, shapes and composition.