Sound of Silence: Kyle Ching’s Portraits of Muay Thai

In the second of my spotlight on Muay Thai photographers, I got in touch with Shanghai-based Kyle Ching who is kind enough to share about his works and his creative process.

If you haven’t an account of your own by now, Instagram is really an immense resource for all manners of visual content. I say it like I just discovered a goldmine but it’s actually true – I only started dabbling in Instagram just about a year back. There is so much hidden talent on this platform that is just baffling. Taiwan-born, LA-bred Kyle Ching is one of them.

Parallels can be drawn between Kyle’s foray into Muay Thai photography and my own motivation for starting the Muay Thai Citizen blog. We fell in love almost instantly with the sport after giving it a go that we needed an outlet to express ourselves. Kyle had been traveling to Thailand quite frequently and one day decided to give it a go at a local gym. As they always say, there’s no looking back since.

“After that first lesson I was hooked. When I returned to Shanghai I found myself a gym and decided to take up training more seriously. Having fell in love with the sport I would often travel back to Thailand to watch fights and train at various gyms around town. I found these to be great opportunities to photograph some of the best fighters in the world.

muay thai portraits

When fully realized as a weapon for non-narcissistic pursuits, the allure of photography is that it freezes a point in the flowing river of time which would have gone unnoticed, and forgotten. There is a beauty of understated quietude in Kyle’s intimate black-white portraits of fighters – a style that often gets sidelined. However, his preferred choice for monochrome is less a matter of style and more of convenience.

“I wanted to make sure that I was consistently posting therefore I needed the post production process to be as simple as possible. All my photos are processed using just two apps, Snapseed and VSCO. First I use Snapseed for the finer details, and follow it up with VSCO for broad streak editing. The photo editing process is done in a couple of minutes, and more often than not in a taxi on the way to the office.”

And it works. Kyle’s setup of a mirrorless Sony A7Rii with a wide angle lens forces him to be up close with his subjects, and it comes together flawlessly in black and white. Here are more of his captivating portraiture work in Muay Thai:

muay thai portraits

muay thai portraits

muay thai portraits

muay thai portraits

muay thai portraits

muay thai portraits

If you like what you see here, be sure to visit Kyle’s charming Instagram account for more of his lovely Muay Thai photography.


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