Paper Trumpets #17: Matador Ali


Click image to enlarge:

Matador Ali



Notes on this collage:

  • Of course, this famous image of Muhammad Ali comes from the heyday of his boxing career, in 1965, when he defeated Sonny Liston in the first round of a championship rematch. I watched the video of the fight online but the camera angle lowers so you don’t get to see this famous moment. You have to look at photos from the fight. Some people thought the fight was fixed, and Liston was criticized until his mysterious death in 1970. The identity of the photographer is a little confusing. Donald L. Robinson is often cited as the one who took this photo but it seems his photos are slightly different, though just as classic (as seen on his Corbis Images page). A younger photographer for Sports Illustrated named Neil Leifer took this one. You can see the original image on his website (Ali’s right arm is flexed across his body more in this one). Throughout the years, Leifer has become known as one of the greatest photographers in sports.
  • The crowd gathered for the fight in this collage is from the Rand McNally Illustrated Atlas of Today’s World 1962 (as the caption says, it is a South American bull ring). I sliced it out of a copy owned by fellow Portland collagist, Kurtiss Lofstrom (“this book is a gold mine,” he said, as he handed me a well-used box cutter blade). I was at his house and backyard garage studio this weekend and got an impressive tour of his work. I hope to write more about Lofstrom’s work in the future. Thanks for the bull ring, Kurtiss!
  • Paper Trumpets shines its spotlight this episode on Mirawek Wolff. The French collagist has a sharp eye for industrial and architectural images that playfully butt up against animals, people, and nature scenes. Wolff cites 70s prog-rock as an influence on his work and says he’ll also find inspiration while listening to long stretches of ambient music. Some of my favorite pieces of his are the ones in the “Form and Void” series, especially “Deuil” where swaths of different curtain fabric blend into a man’s face like strange skin grafts. When I asked him about that one and others similar to that approach, he said, “Generally I really try to correspond the folds and shadows of curtains with the lines of faces. It makes for really intriguing pieces, and I try to develop more and more in this way. These kinds of pieces express something really deep and emotional to me. Sadness, melancholia—they’re the feelings I had when I made them.” Wolff will be part of a group exhibition in Copenhagen this May with a few of my other favorites like Jesse Treece, Jay Riggio, and David Delruelle. You can also see and buy his work on his Society 6 page.


Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of the micropress Future Tense Books in Portland, Oregon. His books include the story collection, Creamy Bullets, the memoir, A Common Pornography, and the novel, This Is Between Us. His work has appeared in publications such as Pank, Sixth Finch, Poets & Writers Magzine, Yeti, Fairy Tale Review, Tin House, Best Sex Writing 2010, and Best American Essays 2013. More from this author →