It all began with an art school photography assignment: Lori Grinker was shooting a project on young boxers under the guidance of the legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. Her main focus became a nine-year-old boxer Billy Hamm. While photographing him, Cus wandered over and asked why Lori was shooting that kid, when the bigger kid in the corner working a speed bag would one day be the heavyweight champion of the world! The kid was a then 13-year-old Mike Tyson.
Lori’s early boxing photographs of Mike Tyson are without peer–little exists from that era and all of Grinker’s work is personal with uniquely privileged access in and out of the ring.
Over the next decade Lori would photograph the coterie that surrounded Mike; Cus’s funeral, going home to Brownsville, old friends, trips abroad, in hotel suites before and after fights, his hook-up with Robin Givens, their wedding, their divorce, and the training and fights in between until Tyson’s first defeat–the Buster Douglas fight in 1991. This is a side of the Mike Tyson story rarely seen or shared.
Lori Grinker, is an award-winning documentary photographer and author. Internationally published and exhibited, her work has garnered many awards, including a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant and a Hasselblad Foundation Grant. She has published two books: The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, and Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict. A lecturer at Yale since 2010, she also teaches at NYU Graduate school of Journalism, and is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography (ICP). Her photographs are held in the collections of ICP, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and San Francisco MoMA (among others). She is represented by Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York, and has been a member of Contact Press Images since 1988.