Slide show of Timothy Wheeler's submitted photos
Final project and photos
In 2006, for the first time, two Dorothea Lange Fellows were selected. Jakob Schiller, 24, and Timothy Wheeler, 27, are both students at the Graduate School of Journalism.
Timothy Wheeler said that while working at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia in summer 2005, he photographed numerous kickboxers from one of the city's most impoverished ghettos. Some of those photos, and others of a champion 12-year-old boxer in the United States, Tyler Terrazas of Vallejo, won him the Lange prize.
"While sanctioned as sport, boxing is compelling and brutal entertainment," Wheeler wrote to the judging panel, "and heroes embody masculinity in its most pure form. I want to examine this sport at its most beautiful and disturbing."
He has followed the 95-pound Terrazas to tournaments throughout the state, en route to the boy's unsuccessful bid at the 2005 Silver Gloves National Championship in Independence, Mo., in February 2006. Terrazas, who finished third in the country in 2004, is now training three times a week and plans to compete in other tournaments in 2006, including the Junior Golden Gloves.
Wheeler plans to photograph Terrazas and other young athletes for a year in their boxing and kickboxing sparring matches and competitive tournaments and in daily life "to gain insight into why some kids become champions at 12 years old." He said he looks for the "nuances around the edge of the main action."
Wheeler took his photos in color, using a Nikon D70 digital camera with a single-lens reflex.
A native of Florida, he is interested in pursuing a career as a documentary photographer and is working on his master's thesis with fellow student Jordan Robertson, producing a documentary film called Beyond the Gloves about Terrazas and his family. Wheeler is an associate producer for PBS's "Frontline World."
He has reported in Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, the Philippines, the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona, Indonesia, and Thailand. In March 2006, he traveled to Bolivia for another photography project. Before getting involved in journalism, Wheeler worked for human rights nonprofit organizations in the United States and Latin America.