A new coffee table book called "Venus Williams" by photographer Koto Bolofo has just been released and features an inspired, conceptual exploration of the 4-time defending Wimbledon champion's life.
The stunningly beautiful photographs of V, many in black + white, evoke images of powerful yet graceful and elegant women of their time including French Open champion Suzanne Lenglen, Josephine Baker and others. Bolofo spoke with the UK's The Times about running into his muse for the first time on the streets of London four years ago:
I turned a corner in Covent Garden and there was this tall, beautiful black woman and I thought, ‘I fancy her!’ I’d never seen such a graceful woman. She was wearing a bright fluorescent pink raincoat and stood out like a sore thumb.He readily admits always wanting to photograph V after watching her win the first of her Wimby titles:
There was such a strength of woman in her. I had never seen anyone like this. She was like a gazelle, so pure. But I wanted to photograph her my way – not as a sports star with lots of muscles, but as a woman.Since that initial meeting, Bolofo and V became friendly and collaborated on an Italian Vogue shoot which eventually led to working on the book. He has traveled around the globe with the 6-time Grand Slammer including London, Istanbul, Paris and New York shooting images for "Venus Williams".
And what did V initially think of Bolofo's vision?
Wimbledon's official clothing sponsor, Ralph Lauren, will be throwing a launch party for the event this week as a lead up to V's defense of her crown. The former no. 1 will also be writing for The Times through the fortnight.
He saw something in me that no one else has ever seen, the side that’s classic tennis player, with elegance and grace.
And, as always, look for her to do it all with effortless style.
(via Great Tennis Photos, images by Koto Bolofo)