Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jimmy Valiant Retirement, 12/25/04

This month marks the ninth year I have been involved in pro-wrestling photography (in some aspect).  I was looking through the pictures I took in 2004, looking for one that probably had not seen the light of day in awhile.

The first "Foto Flashback" post on the new site is - Jimmy "Boogie Woogie Man" Valiant from Christmas night, 2004.  In January of that year, I attended my first show at APW in Spartanburg - that night Boogie announced he would be returning on Christmas for his retirement match.  I think we have seen in the years since that Boogie hasn't completely stepped away from the ring but this was his last full-time run as I recall.

You can read about the night in his book: "Woo...Mercy, Daddy!" on pages 539-541.

This was taken with my original camera, the Sony Mavica (which used 3" disks!)

Match Gallery updated

Added 7 photos from last year's PWX shows in Charlotte & York to the Match Gallery.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Cleaning...

Welcome to - 2013!  For you long time visitors to the site, you will notice a major change in the design.  This change has come about because as you well know, I am not shooting wrestling shows at the same pace I once did.  After I "retired" in January 2010, I did stay slightly active and shot shows for Premiere Wrestling Xperience, Ring of Honor and one more "Hardcore Hell" at NWA Anarchy.  The last show I did was Southern States Wrestling in Mt. Carmel, TN on 27 October 2012.

I have slimmed down the site a good bit, but my galleries, etc are all located over on the right side of the site.  My plans as of now are to perhaps start doing a "photo of the week," where I would go through the archives of ringsidephotos and bring some older, possibly never been seen photos to the site.

Thanks to everyone for their support and the kind words I still receive at shows, I hope you enjoy the new

Turn out the lights…the party’s over…

Originally published on 31 January 2010

To the fans, wrestlers, promoters, friends of RSPDN and others,

Of course you’ve all noticed that I have been on an extended break.  The last show I shot was NWA Anarchy on 19 September 2009.  Since that time I have been doing a lot of thinking and I have reached a decision.  It has taken me over four months to reach this decision because pro-wrestling has been a very important and large part of my life since 2004.  March 2010 would be my sixth anniversary of taking wrestling photos.

I have decided though, it’s time for me to hang up the camera.  I’m not going to say retirement, because you retire from a career, and I think the word “quitting” sounds so negative, so… I’m stopping.  I’m not saying that you will never see me at ringside again but for now I am done.

First, thanks to you all that helped make this possible.  You’ve helped make a childhood dream become reality.  There are too many to list, but I’ve thanked them before and I do so again.

In the past years I have given up a lot to be a part of wrestling, those of you involved understand.  At the time you focus on getting to the next show.  I have realized though that during this time I have neglected much in my personal life; friends, family, my career, etc.

I’m not getting any younger – and though I’m only 34 years old (I know, most of you thought at least 40!) I wish I had gotten involved in my early 20s, not 30s.

In my short time I have seen a lot of great talent – men and women who eat/sleep/breathe this sport – who strive with every fiber of their being to “make it.”  To them I wish the best of luck!  Many of you deserve it.  Then I’ll be able to say “I knew _____ back when!”…Then maybe I could make big money on their old photos!

I’ve also seen my share of folks who are just happy to go out and entertain the fans who showed up at the local show, and are good at it.  More power to you guys, you make it real for the local fans…What else have I seen?  Those poor souls who have no training, no clue, no gimmick, no personality, no chance.  In the word of a friend, ‘take two weeks off, come back and retire.”  I’m not going to name any names but there are plenty out there.

I never expected to make a living doing this and all told, I’m way in the hole, but that never bothered me – I was having too much fun.  I had one goal – to get published in Pro Wrestling Illustrated – and I did!  A handful of times, and I’m not ashamed to admit I have at least 3 copies of the magazines my photos appeared in.

Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough.  Again thanks to everyone who supported us – financially, or by just saying “that was a great shot.”  It was all appreciated.  For now, I will be content to buy a ticket and sit on the other side of the barrier; it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.

Blake Arledge