In 2006, at age forty, she discovered boxing. At first she went to the gym to use boxing for fitness. Then she thought she would try competitive amateur boxing. After winning Golden Gloves in her age group, she decided to try boxing professionally.
Professional boxing was a completely different level of competition. Suddenly she was boxing against women less than half her age. She lost her first three fights. In the third she broke the orbit around her eye and had to have surgery. But she did not give up.
In 2012, I met Laura and started documenting her efforts as she prepared for her fourth professional fight against a women who had beaten her previously, Claudia Amaro. I spent several training sessions at the 3rd Street Boxing Gym where she trains with her manager, gym owner Paul Wade and her trainer Ed Gutierrez.
I found the idea of hanging out for extended periods and getting to know my subject and her partners, very entertaining and enlightening. It is freeing to work without lights and without directing my subjects. Shooting black and white also has freed me up to forget about light temperature and color and focus on the composition.
Laura was a willing and compelling subject. Her determination and grace are uplifting to me. The culture and history around boxing oozed from every minute I spent with her and her partners. They respect the sport and each other.
After documenting training, sparring, the weigh in and preparation for the fight, I was happy to see Laura’s arms lifted in victory. Laura still trains and instructs at the 3rd Street Gym in my neighborhood of Dogpatch in San Francisco. Last time I spoke with her, she was preparing for another fight. You can see the whole series of photos in the Boxer Laura Deanovic Gallery on my website.