Jeremy Suyker
Come as You Are

“When is a man a man?” Herbert Grönemeyer, one of Germany’s best-known singers, asked this back in 1984. What characterises a “real” man? Is it courage? Strength? Emotional distance? While in everyday life we are increasingly trying to put these stereotypes to rest, the world of sport clings to the model of hegemonic masculinity. The Berlin Bruisers are not afraid to shake up representations of masculinity in sport. All are welcome to play on this team, be they short or tall, thin or corpulent, gay, transgender or heterosexual. There is only one condition: they must share the values of equality, tolerance and team spirit. The 40-odd members of the team, which was created in 2012, come from around 20 different nations: a multicultural concept that reflects Berlin as it is. The Bruisers practice twice a week and participate in both gay and non-gay tournaments. They are currently playing in the third league. But for seven years, their real struggle has consisted in fighting everyday discrimination – a true athletic achievement.

  • Community
  • Germany
3 Questions
1. The door opener: Can you describe a formative moment in your career as a visual journalist?

A formative moment in my career would be my first trip to Iran in 2013. I was working on a project about creative disobedience in the art world. It was a fantastic experience both personally and as a visual journalist. I was fully immersed in an underground world, documenting the lives of young artists of Tehran, the capital city. I felt privileged to be granted me access to their intimacy, knowing how hard and repressive the Islamic regime can be with artists. The result was a beautiful reportage that was widely published and got great media attention across the world.

2. The decisive moment: When did you first encounter your topic and why did you decide to cover it photographically?

I came across the Bruisers in early 2018 through an algorithm on Instagram! Intrigued by their unique journey, I went to Berlin to meet this original genesis. This was followed in June 2018 by a trip to Amsterdam, home to the Bingham Cup – the equivalent of the World Cup of gay rugby – as well as two other trips to Berlin during which I forged closer links with some of the players who became the protagonists of this story. I decided to cover the Bruisers because they shake up the very concept of heteronormativity and compel us to reflect on the question of the representation of masculinity in society.

3. The future: What could the visual journalism of the future be like?

I hope that the visual journalism of the future will not be only technology-driven. Technology is a wonderful tool and a great door opener but it can also be misleading. Nothing will ever replace a good narrative and a well-written visual story. The great “visual journalists of tomorrow” are the ones working presently in creating multidisciplinary works that inspire us beyond their photographic skills but for the values they convey. I believe visual journalism will become more and more intimate, finding its balance between objective reporting and first-person narrative.


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*1985 in France
Jeremy Suyker began his photography career in 2011 with a documentary about the consequences of the Sri Lankan civil war. Since then, he has concentrated on sociocultural topics. His story “The Persian Factory” is particularly well-known; it depicts the complex life realities faced by artists in Iran. Suyker’s photos have appeared in National Geographic France, The Sunday Times Magazine, GEO, Newsweek Japan, The Washington Post and other publications.


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