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The Fashion Rebirth Of Venus Williams

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Book

"Classical, modern and timeless—that's my concept. It always works". - Koto Bolofo

When fashion photographer Koto Bolofo spotted tennis star Venus Williams in a London street, he saw in her a grace and elegance that none had captured before. The result: a book of revelatory images of the world’s most iconic female tennis player

To most people, Venus Williams is the Amazonian tennis player, who has won Wimbledon four times, with a whomping serve and muscle-bound limbs that go on for ever. Yet, as a new book of photographs shows, she also has an astonishing elegance and beauty.

The book, Venus Williams, is a collaboration between the tennis player and South African-born photographer Koto Bolofo. The two first met four years ago when he spotted her walking down the street in London.Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Book

“I turned a corner in Covent Garden and there was this tall, beautiful black woman,” remembers Bolofo, “and I thought, ‘I fancy her!’ I’d never seen such a graceful woman. She was wearing a bright fluorescent pink raincoat and stood out like a sore thumb.” Bolofo contacted her agent, suggesting the project. He had wanted to photograph her ever since he watched her win Wimbledon on the TV. “There was such a strength of woman in her,” he says. “I had never seen anyone like this. She was like a gazelle, so pure. But I wanted to photograph her my way – not as a sports star with lots of muscles, but as a woman.”

“He wanted to work with me, a lowly tennis player!” is Williams’s self-mocking take on the matter. “He saw something in me that no one else has ever seen, the side that’s classic tennis player, with elegance and grace.”

The two became friends and did a few magazine shoots together, including one for Italian Vogue. But Bolofo wanted more: he wanted to do a book. He had “a vision”, Williams says, of doing a chronicle of her life.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Book

Over the next three years, while Williams, now 27, toured the world, Bolofo tailed her, popping up in London, Istanbul, Paris and New York with photographic suggestions, a small team of helpers and a rack of clothes. He took inspiration from the Jacques Henri Lartigue photographs of junior tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen in 1915: the shot of Williams dancing round the court in a ball dress was one of the first they collaborated on. “Lartigue captured that sense of social class with a spontaneity and energy,” says Bolofo. “That was the foundation of the book.”

Source/Full Article Here

Posted by Shelia

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