ONCE STEVE PUT ON HIS MUAY THAI SHORTS AND SAT DOWN ON THE FLOOR TO WRAP HIS KNUCKLES WITH TAPE, HE ENTERED ANOTHER WORLD. HE TOLD ME THAT AT MUAY THAI CAMP, WHILE HE WAS LEARNING THE SPORT IN THAILAND, HE WAS REQUIRED TO SIT FOR HOURS TO BIND AND REBIND HIS KNUCKLES WITH TAPE. I COULD SEE THE RESULTS SO CLEARLY AS HE WORKED STEADILY ON HIS HANDS, THE MOVES ALMOST DANCE-LIKE. HE BECOMES TOTALLY FOCUSED AS HE WRAPS HIS KNUCKLES, AND HE IS FAST AND PROFESSIONAL AT THE PROCESS, WHICH IS ELABORATE AND COMPLEX FOR THOSE, LIKE ME, WHO DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT. JUMPING UP TO DON HIS GLOVES, HE IMMEDIATELY STARTS TO POSE. BUT THESE ARE NOT THE POSES OF A MALE MODEL; HE IS A BOXER. – ROBERT WALLACE, PHOTOGRAPHER –
30 years old Steve Lu lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he holds a daytime job in retail. By itself, nothing special. But there is more to Steve than one would think at first sight. Steve has extensive training and experience as and athlete. Most particularly in ice hockey, swimming, surfing and contact sports such as boxing. A few years back he worked for Vancouver’s Parks and Recreation Department as a life-guard, but that was before he decide to take an adventurous trip to Asia. A trip that would change his life.
A few years ago Steve Lu decided to travel to Asia with the objective to explore the continent during a time period of 2 years in the most direct way one can do that: backpacking. During these 2 years, Steve exposed himself to the many different rich cultures one can find in Asia which left him a wealth of experiences and entertaining stories. One of them about his training and work as a Muay Thai boxer while living in Thailand. Something photographer Robert Wallace had no idea of and only found out about the night before the two would meet for their first photo shoot.
Robert Wallace loves to travel. He loves traveling almost as much as taking pictures. And so it is no surprise that the thing he loves even more is to combine both his passion. Robert spotted Steve Lu in Model Mayhem. Steve is a newcomer in the modeling industry and had just uploaded a couple of first shots on his newly created profile when Robert discovered him. As Robert planned to visit Vancouver anyway, they decided to undertake a test shoot that would give Steve the opportunity to try different styles of modeling: portraiture, fashion, physique, underwear etc. Steve would provide clothes, Robert would take care of the venue. What Robert didn’t expected though that Steve arrived not only with the classic attire, but also with his Muay Thai boxing outfit.
“Steve is animated, personable, and easy to work with,” Robert Wallace comments on his work with Steve Lu. “His enthusiasm more than compensates for his lack of experience as a model. In the studio, he adapted easily to the camera, and remained creatively engaged throughout our shoot. I deliberately left the Muay Thai setting till the end of our session as I thought I might want to get him wet, to simulate sweat. In the end I didn't need to 'cause Steve became so involved in the Muay Thai ritual that all I needed to do was shoot him while he went into its meditative-like zone.” Steve had come to the shoot bringing his entire Muay Thai outfit: shorts, boxing gloves, shin pads, etc. While Steve may be an amateur model, he is definitely a professional athlete - especially in the case of Muay Thai. In Thailand, he was something of a sensation as a Westerner fighting opponents who were almost exclusively Thai. Robert continues: “In our shoot, once he put on his boxing gear, he began to assume the role of a professional boxer, which made my job easy. I ceased to direct him; rather, I let him take command as he executed a succession of moves that he briefly froze for my lens.”
Being a retired professor of drama and having years of experience in television and theatre, Robert Wallace immediately saw the dramatic possibilities of the Muay Thai series. Adding graphic elements to the photos and bold colors, he not only brought to life the theatrical spirit of a Muay Thai match, he also taps into the cultural phenomenon of colourful Thai decorations and patterns. Both Steve and Robert obviously where in the zone while shooting these sereies. Combined with some of the more fashion oriented black and white portraits, Steve Lu can now add a most exciting series of photographs to his growing folio. –BM-
STEVE LU | BEAUTIFULMAG
ROBERT WALLACE | BEAUTIFULMAG