Through blood, sweat, tears, and writhing, bikini-clad bodies, this book compiles the best images of Theo Ehret, an unsung giant of sports photography. From the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, Ehret chronicled the matches at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in L.A. as well as the erotic sub-genre of “apartment wrestling.”
Through the weigh-ins, the injuries, the backstage brawls, and the captivated crowds, Ehret’s images capture all the action and the atmosphere of the Grand Olympic Auditorium, where the likes of André the Giant, Killer Kowalski, The Sheik, Gordman and Goliath, and Jesse “The Body” all punched their way to stardom. Alongside the Grand Olympic shots are the dramatic apartment wrestling images, a male fantasy phenomenon of bare breasts and buttocks, long, strong limbs and staged passions.
An interview with Ehret adds his personal commentary to both sides of the wrestling scene, the legends he met along the way, and the interplay of fantasy, reality, and photography.
Theo Ehret (1920–2012) was the house photographer at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s. His evocative work captured the enormous wrestling personalities of that era—Muhammad Ali and André the Giant, George Foreman and Roberto Durán, among others—and also the sport’s sub-genre known as “apartment wrestling”.
The artist Mike Kelley(1954–2012) worked with performance, installation, drawing and painting, video, sound, and sculpture. Drawing from historical research, mass cultural sources, psychological theory and Sex to Sexty, his artworks reference both high art and vernacular traditions.
Cameron Jamie, born in 1969, is an American visual artist who has exhibited throughout the U.S. and widely in Europe. His artwork addressing the theme of wrestling has appeared in numerous bodies of work. Jamie is also an expert on the subject of North American professional wrestling and apartment wrestling.