Poetry in Motion: The Photography of Peter McCabe
After Postmedia gutted its photo department, Peter McCabe lost his main source of income. But the award-winning photographer is working with us now. Thank you for supporting him.
This isn’t wrestling, it’s a revival.
With every performer hurling themselves over the top rope and with every beautiful collision of flesh against bone, the audience erupts. It’s something between working class theatre and one of those religious revivals that travels the South with a big tent and snake-charming preachers.
The fans’ reaction is pure call and response. For every climactic moment, chants of “Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!” reverberate through the Olympia amphitheatre. As the pace of a match builds, they sing “This is awesome! (Clap! Clap! Clap clap clap!) This is awesome! (Clap! Clap! Clap clap clap!)”
And if you’re one of the rare performers who misses their mark or makes a mistakes, the fans serenade you with, “You fucked up! You fucked up! You fucked up!”
Of course, they know the game is rigged but that’s exactly the point, they go for the theatre of it. And there’s no theatre quite like the International Wrestling Syndicate.
“If you bought tickets to a play and got up and started screaming at the actors, they’d kick you out,” said Dave Simon, host of the Ringside Report podcast. “But in wrestling, the audience are a part of the show. They know it’s a work but they scream and holler as though their cheers just might affect the outcome of the match.
“There’s no other art form like wrestling. To me, it’s the best performance art as there is. The outcome of matches may be predetermined but the drama is real, the pain is real, the thrill is real.”
On Saturday, Montreal grappler PCP Crazy F’in Manny wrestled his retirement match before the biggest audience in IWS history. I can’t describe the pure joy of that night so I hired my friend Peter McCabe to capture it.
Like so many photojournalists across Canada, Peter is a freelancer who lost most of his income when Postmedia slashed its photography budget a few years back. These days, we’ve been working together and I am blown away by his abilities as a storyteller and journalist.
This is a night that absolutely needed to be seen through Peter’s eyes and I’m grateful to share his work with you.