“Wrestling is the number one sport in Senegal,” queer photographer Ernst Coppejans says. “Champions are worshiped and treated like movie stars.”
We first fell in love with Coppejans’ work when we saw his series Gay Escorts, featuring stunning images of male sex workers in Amsterdam.
Coppejans lives and works in Amsterdam, but his photography has taken him over the world, including to a small village in the West African country of Senegal, where he says young men spend hours each week training to be professional letteurs (wrestlers).
“Many Senegalese boys train fanatically to make their dream [of] becoming a famous lutteur come true,” Coppejans explains. “During a month I portrayed the boys from the small village Yene who gather on the beach, every day at the end of the afternoon, to train together.”
Scroll down to see images from Coppegans’ Lutteurs series, and see more of his award-winning work on his website.
Published for one-time use only with permission from Ernst Coppejans. Photographs may not be saved, copied or republished on any other website.