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Twin Palms Publishers : Luke Smalley : Exercise at Home


After receiving a degree in sports medicine from Pepperdine University and then working as both a model and personal trainer, Luke Smalley (1955–2009) became fascinated with the archetype of the athletic American male, and sought to explore its more playful side. His compositions were inspired by early 20th-century fitness manuals and high school yearbooks. In his second monograph published by Twin Palms Publishers, Exercise at Home, Smalley returns to his native Pennsylvania to consider the small-town interiors and landscapes that are the settings for his portraits of young athletes.

Color photographs, inspired by a more innocent era, combine whimsy with the inexplicable: Smalley has hired a local seamstress to construct a colossal medicine ball; he binds two boys together with a “harness” and leaves them in an empty room for a psychological game of tug-of-war, while somewhere nearby two boys lead donkeys around the floor of a basketball court in an empty high school gym. Scale, time, and content are altered to create the world Smalley inhabits; the lush colors of this new world belie the viewer’s sense of dislocation.


Luke Smalley: Exercise at Home
Twin Palms Publishers
publication date: August 2024
8 x 12 inches
30 four-color plates
48 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936611-21-8
price: USD $60

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