, journalism graduate and multiple award winner, became a documentary photographer in 2005 cutting his teeth on shooting projects in Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. One of the founding members of the vastly talented Out of Focus
photography collective, Delfosse work on Congo's fetish wrestlers won him a 2011 PDN Photo Annual
Award and a 2013 POYi
Award of Excellence. Of this intriguing collection, the photographer writes,
Eight million inhabitants, thousands of shegués (street children), hundreds of wrestlers and their brass bands. Edingwe, Dragon, City Train, Mbokotomo: the “legends” of Congolese wrestling invent themselves on a daily basis in the outskirts of Kinshasa. Body-building, and even black magic enthusiasts fight for glory in makeshift rings. They come from the streets and their charisma commands respect and admiration.
In the last hours of the day, when they have hung up their everyday “occupations”, they put on masks and wrestling kit ready to fight. The motorized parade of wrestlers attracts crowds from the dusty streets of Massina, Ngili and Matete, towns round the Congolese capital. In backyards, on the tables of the street cafés, or even in the street, the spell casters warm up over primus stoves and cannabis. The ring is hastily set up, the judge climbs onto the ropes. “Let the match begin!” The fight starts and is usually more or less fixed. Rounds follow one another until the final spell is cast, until the adversary is floored, until the next fight.
Image credits: Colin Delfosse, via POYi
| Quote via Feature Shoot