David Jaewon Oh was born in Seoul, South Korea, and now resides in Seattle, Washington. He received a BFA in Photography from the University of Washington. David is focused on the subjects of culture and gender in sports. His recent projects include the documentation of an LGBTQ running club and the Rat City Rollergirls, a roller derby league based in Seattle, WA. Combatants is one of his most well-known collection of works thus far in his career and have exhibited in Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. His work is also featured in online and print publications such as VSCO, Float Photo Magazine, Humble Arts Foundation (Instagram), Vice Fightland, The Wall Street Journal, UNDO-ORDINARY and Good Sport Magazine (Australia). He was awarded a 2016 GAP Grant from Artist Trust (Seattle, WA).
When he’s not taking photos, he really likes to listen to rap music and watch sports. He often wears hats and collects diner mugs.
Combat sports, which have been dominated by males, represent an ultimate forum that test the strength, endurance and even bravado amongst men. For nearly the past two decades however there have been a rapidly increasing number of women participating in combat sports–changing the face of the sport. Nevertheless, a vast majority of women in this field continue to be underrepresented as they are considered novelty acts.
The “Combatants” series attempts to highlight female fighters by photographing them in their respective gyms where they are becoming better fighters. This is also the environment in which they find themselves as a minority, often trading blows with male training partners because there are so few female fighters to compete with. In photographing these fighters exclusively in an environment in which they remain a minority, I wish to highlight these fighters in hopes of bringing awareness to solidify their identity and to capture their valiant efforts,.
To view more of David’s work please visit his website.