The Gymnasts and Wrestlers series include portraits of athletes I took in training camps and sports schools in Sofia, Plovdiv, Kyustendil and Blagoevgrad. The athletic development requires a very serious physical and mental preparation. In Bulgaria, a country with limited economic opportunities, becoming a professional sportsman is a good opportunity. Only ten percent of those training to be athletes become professionals. The hope for a successful career in sports initially rises in the minds their parents, and later children begin to wish to follow the example of famous Bulgarian athletes who have reached the top steps of the podium, such as Aleksandar Tomov, Maria Petrova and Yordan Yovchev.I chose to photograph the athletes when they are at rest. The body, so bitterly shaped, turns out to be deprived of the reason for its existence. It’s not about celebrating the performance but rather the presence. Massive and muscular or thin and graceful, each athlete is revealed the way he is.
Samuel Lugassy was born in 1976 in Cannes, France. After having graduated in Economic Studies, Samuel Lugassy launched into photography and began his career as a self-taught photographer in 2000 by doing an apprenticeship with different fashion photographers in Paris. Then Samuel quickly turned to portrait photography and worked for Sofa magazine, where he photographed many musicians and actors. At the same time, he worked with leading newspapers and magazines like Cahiers du Cinema, le Magazine Littéraire and Corbis agency. In 2010 he began a personal project exploring the identities of the rural population of post-soviet Lithuania and Moldova. His latest project ''Gymnast and Wrestler'', was exhibited at the Circulations festival in Paris.