The world of the Physical Culturist has been much derided. In some quarters it is seen as pure egotism, just a way of producing aggressive lumps, self-absorbed and even dangerous individuals. There are others who just want to laugh at the Stereotype of the ‘Muscle Man’ routine with greased up biceps pulsing to comedy music. Some simply think of it as being weird. I think that these determined characters are owed something more than a snigger or a typecast. Graceful and Elegant are words that seem to have been lost from the vocabulary when describing Body Building today. Serge looks at this ancient pursuit of physical excellence in a different way celebrating form and taste.



2005, Colour, 7mins


‘Serge’, could be seen as experimental but defies exact classification due to the fact that it is in many ways classic and formal in its construct. Images are complimented by a haunting interpretation of Catullus’s poem “Odi et Amo” composed and performed by Johann Johannsson.

The result is a poignant and compelling study of a man.


"Odi et Amo"


Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?

nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.


I hate and I love. Why do I do it, perchance you might ask?

I don't know, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.




EDITOR Spencer Doane

COMPOSER Johann Johannsson

CAST Serge Licis



17 June 2005

The Rex Cinema and Bar, London, UK



‘Physical Culturists’, started off as a personal project, it then expanded when Amelia Gregory from Amelia’s Magazine saw my initial results. Amelia asked if I would expand the series for inclusion in her Magazine. Within a couple of months it was published.


I’ve had an interest in Bodybuilding for many years now. I used to go to the Gym religiously (Estuary Gym in Southend-on-Sea and Maximum Fitness in Tufnell Park London). The ‘Spit and Saw Dust’, style Gym is a wonderful place, a Cathedral of challenge, both mentally and physically.


I soon realized that it is quite an addictive thing to do, requiring incredibly high levels of commitment and discipline. Going to the Gym seriously can be likened to a religious experience. A kind of sacrament, a sacrifice and also a form of Flagellation. This is not simply a Meat-Headed pastime; it goes much deeper than that.


My primary influence for the series of photographs was a guy who used to go to my Gym in Tufnell Park, Serge Licis.


In the past there have been several photographic projects and television programmes shining a light on the world of Bodybuilding. They generally tend to mock or show the culture in some sort of freakish manner. I wanted to redress the balance in some way and portray its devotees in a reverent way.


17 June 2005

The Rex Cinema and Bar, London, UK



Amilia’s Magazine




Set Navigation

  • 00:00:29



  • 00:01:33



  • 00:01:48



  • 00:02:20



Show Info

Show Info

Show Info