Float Like A Butterfly
Photographs of Muhammad Ali 1961 - 1964
Through August 15, 2013
Born in 1930 in Minnesota Flip Shulke waisted little time before striking out on his own. At 15 he ran away from home and soon after learned he could support himself by working as a photographer. His career spanned over 60 years and in that time he documented some of histories most iconic figures- political leaders, explorers, revolutionaries, and rockstars. The work of Muhammad Ali Schulke made in the 1960's is especially memorable, as it both celebrates a legend and tributes a greater style that would become trademark of Shulke's practice- underwater images.
In these works Schulke captured the strength, power, determination, and spirit of the young fighter Ali, then known still as Cassius Clay. Though he did not actually train underwater Ali had a hunch that it could be an interesting way to promote his image. With Shulke, a pioneer of underwater photography, behind the lens these works did indeed become legendary. One in particular, Ali Underwater shows the fighter is perfect fighting position, hands raised at the bottom of a pool. This has become Shulke's most sought-after image.
The truth behind the image is itself an interesting story- Ali didn't train under water, he never had, and he couldn't even swim. That day Ali, as Shulke said, fooled a Life Photographer, but together the pair made images we still remember and crave.
For more information on the exhibition, please visit Keith de Ellis Gallery
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