Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn: studio portraits and a Q & A with a world champion boxer

Posted in boxing, Jeff Foley Photography, Portraits on February 20th, 2012 by admin

Boxing champion Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn recently stopped by the JFP studio. And my friend (and super talented artist) Erin Marzilli did Sarah’s makeup and hair.

Jeff Foley Photography: What does winning a world title mean to you?

Sarah Kuhn: Having the opportunity to fight for a World Title is the ultimate goal for any professional boxer. WINNING a World Title is a dream come true. In one of the first articles written about me, the writer asked my trainer Rick Sweeney what he thought of me as a boxer. He said, “She could win a World Title someday.” That gave me all of the confidence I needed to go out, work hard and believe in the idea.

JFP: Is there a message you want to share with other women/girls?

SK: I want women to know that no matter what you choose to do in life, you can be feminine, you can be beautiful and even a sport like boxing can be done with grace. I also want woman to look at me and what I’m doing and know that. even in a male-dominated sport, you can be confident and hold your head high. I want young girls to know that you can grow up to be anything you want to be and to look at themselves and find beauty in every inch of their being.

JFP: How about with boys/men?

SK: I like showing the guys my “tough” side. Every woman is a fighter … it’s sexy. My message to the guys out there would be, respect women. See the passion and work ethic in everything they do and appreciate it. If there’s a woman in your life that struggles with lack of confidence or self-esteem issues, take the extra time to compliment her. Women are the beauty of the world, sometimes they just need a little reminder.

JFP: What does the general public not know about the world of professional boxing?

SK: The thing about boxing that I don’t think the general public realizes is the mental and physical work that goes into each match. Six weeks out from a fight means intense training, long hours in the gym, diet perfection, lack of friends and family time and complete focus. And, unless your Floyd Mayweather, you have to maintain not only a full-time job, but for most women a family as well. Not easy. The real sport really happens behind the scenes in the gym.

JFP: Where do you go with your career from here?

SK: Aside from winning a World Title in my last fight, the win took us from 13th in the country to sixth. We have already recieved numerous requests for match ups as well as another World Title offer. The possibilites are growing, and having a 10-round fight under our belt is extremely noticable in the boxing world. I will be back to training March 1st, and hoping to be back in the ring as early as April.

JFP: Is it tough being a female boxer?

SK: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not only do you have to be in tip-top shape, you have to be mentally prepared to deal with everything in your daily life sometimes just “running on fumes.” It’s physically harder for women to lose weight as opposed to men, so when it comes to cutting weight for fights …we dont really want to hear them complain. Women also deal with many emotional issues, some that can’t be explained. Boxing takes you to the highest high, but it can also drag you down and test you. It asks everything of you and then some. It makes you question your commitment, and it tries to make you quit. The real battle is won before you even step through the ropes.

JFP: Do you feel like you can be a fighter and still be feminine when you want to be?

SK: ABSOLUTELY! When I first started boxing I made a commitment to myself. No matter what happens I will remain true to who I am. If that means being picked on for being polite, or wearing pink, I would be ready. I’m not a trash talker and I will never be. I will remain humble as I am in my every day life, and give back every chance I can. Being a professional boxer does not define who I am … Being Sarah Janette Kuhn, the pink loving, COACH carrying, sequined dress wearing, born again believing, homeschooler from Schoharie, N.Y., is who I am. I am a fighter in everything that I do. I may lose a few battles, but the war which is life is the ultimate goal to conquer. I will do it with Beauty and Grace

JFP: What’s the recipe for winning a title? How did you get to that place?

SK: Hard work. Dedication. Patience. Being able to take a loss and overcome. Be brave! Dare to put yourself out there. Accept criticism. Smile a lot, even when it seems impossible.

I couldn’t get to where I am without the support of my incredible friends and family. My fiance Brian is my biggest fan and without him pushing me, encouraging me, and just being there when I need to crash … its all necessary for success. My fans are amazing, and I’m overwhelmed each time I enter the ring by the support, cheers and pink that swallows up the arena. My mom and dad have been to all of my matches from amateur to professional and, when I see them in the crowd, I know that this is why I succeed.

JFP: What’s up next for you?

SK: Feb. 25th Im getting married to the love of my life. This will be my greatest accomplishment yet. March 1st I will get back into the gym and get ready for whatever is thrown my way. My goal for the end of the year is to fight for the NYS Welterweight Title in front of my hometown. I have a lot to learn about the sport, but I am confident in saying that I get better each time. I will continue to work hard in a sport that I kind of fell into. I believe that most things in life you fall into, the important ones you fall for.

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World champion boxer Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn

Posted in boxing, Jeff Foley Photography, Portraits on February 2nd, 2012 by admin

This is Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn, a world champion boxer based in upstate New York. Sarah stopped by the Jeff Foley Photography studio for some promo shots recently.

Would you believe that this gorgeous woman gets paid to fight? I love how fit Sarah is, and she is funny as hell. Lots of fun to make pictures with! Makeup and hair by the super-talented Erin Marzilli, who is also a blast to work with.

More pics to come …


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Congrats to champion boxer Sarah Kuhn

Posted in boxing, Jeff Foley Photography on December 4th, 2011 by admin

My friend — professional boxer Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn — became a world champion Saturday night, capturing the previously vacant WIBC welterweight belt by defeating Lisa Garland in a 10-round decision. The fight was in Atlanta, Georgia.

I guessed that Sarah was headed for good things when we made these pictures at the JFP studio in January 2011. You can just tell — she’s got “it.” She’s hard-working, charismatic and seems to understand that nothing will be handed to you in life. You’ve got to work harder than other people and then you’ve got to stick your neck out and take chances. You might fail, or you might just became a world champ.

So, wow. Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn = World Champion. Pretty damn cool.


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Sarah Kuhn lands a left hand

Posted in boxing, Foley Photography on April 16th, 2011 by foley71

Professional boxer Sarah Kuhn lands a left hand during her April 15th, 2011, fight at Hudson Valley Community College (Troy, New York). More pics to come …

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Foley Photography’s favorite pics of 2010

Posted in boxing, Foley Photography, Models, Personal, Portraits on February 11th, 2011 by foley71

2010 was a great year for Foley Photography. We got our wedding business up and running, and we made lots of portraits of fun and interesting people. At some point, I think Tina and I will look back and know that 2010 was a very important year for our business.

I’m a little late on this (seeing as how it’s already February of 2011), but I wanted to share my favorite 10 Foley Photography images from 2010. And, since I’m already so late, I figured I might as screw things up even more and show you a “baker’s 10” … Yup, I picked 11 of my favorite pics. Without any further delay, here they are (in no particular order):

GLOVES ON FIRE: I could not believe professional boxer (and friend) Shawn Miller let me light the tools of his trade on fire. We took every precaution and I was very serious on the shoot. I told Shawn, “I know I usually tell lots of jokes, but not this time. It’ll be bad enough if I burn your hands, but it’ll be even worse if it’s because we’re kidding around.” Nobody got hurt, though, and I love this image:

MATISYAHU, PRAYING: My assistant (Krystal Chromczak) and I made the following portrait of reggae singer/rapper Matisyahu at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, New York, after midnight, following a concert. The portrait has extra meaning to me, as Matisyahu is one of my favorite musicians. We had about a minute with him (we were set up with a location and lighting, as well as a plan, when he came out of his dressing room), and we made the most of it. I was slightly nervous about asking him to strike a prayer pose, but since so much of his music has a spiritual theme, I figured, “What the hell?”

AMY AND JAMIE, EXACTLY: Often at a wedding, there is a moment when a bride and groom’s exact personalities shine through. The picture below shows Amy and Jamie as I know them, and I love the picture for that. Plus, Amy’s expression just makes me happy.

DANCING IN THE ROAD: I live for the 20 or 30 minutes I get at each wedding to make portraits of just the bride and groom. These minutes fill me with happiness and I work hard to make pictures of my couples that make them feel special. I want them to look like they could have just stepped out of the pages of a magazine, and I want my couples to feel like the photos capture “them.” As my company’s tagline says, I want my couples to “feel good and look good.” I think I nailed it in the picture below, of Erin and Aaron:

IS THAT A PEACOCK?: Sometimes you just get lucky. I was making portraits of Jimmy prior to his and Melissa’s wedding at Birch Hill in Schodack, New York (one of my favorite locations), when one of their many peacocks came near. I backed up in a hurry, hoping I could include the bird in the picture. Not only did he stay in the frame, but he puffed up beautifully for me:

JAIME LOVES HORSES: I did Jaime and Alan’s engagement shoot at a horse farm, where Jaime rides every day. Then, when I was on the way to her house to photograph her getting ready for her wedding, I passed by a barn with horse heads painted on it. I turned to my assistant and said, “We have to make a portrait of Jaime here.” The barn was only five minutes from Jaime’s house, so we stopped on the way to the church. We were there for about three minutes, and we made one of my favorite pictures of 2010. I love the way the photo looks, and I love that it tells a little bit of a story:

FAMILY PORTRAIT, IN PJS: OK, take a cute family and put them in the Foley Photography studio. Good start. But put them in matching PJs for their holiday portrait, and that’s even better. And have them wear matching sock monkey PJs? Now we’re talking! Perfect!

LEAH, AS A UNICORN: Leah Jung is one of my favorite models to work with. We shot together three or four times in 2010, including one ethereal-style shoot that was Leah’s idea. My assistant (Krystal Chromczak, also a top-notch hair and makeup artist) did Leah’s hair and makeup. Isn’t the hair cool? I came up with the location — a local cemetery — and this image is currently on display at the PhotoCenter of the Capital Region in Troy, New York:

CAILEY, WITH NOT MUCH MORE THAN A SMILE: Cailey Passer is a new model for me, but I already love working with her. She’s funny, easygoing and photographs oh-so-well. We made the following picture (hair and makeup again by Krystal) the first time we worked together. I adore Cailey’s smile in this photo, and I can only imagine how strong our images will be the next time we shoot!

Here’s Murphy, our 13-year-old lab/border collie mix, during his annual Christmas shoot. Tina and I have had Murphy since he was six weeks old (we got him at a shelter) and he is like a firstborn child to us. I can’t explain how much we love him. Just lots. Kudos to my wife Tina for picking out the wardrobe here.

Finally, working as a photographer allows me to witness to some very personal and powerful moments. The picture below — the last of this post — is of professional boxer Sarah “The Knockout” Kuhn. It was taken in her locker room, just minutes before she walked to the ring to face her opponent. I am grateful to Sarah — as well as every bride and groom, parent and child, corporate client, etc. — for letting me into her world. Thank you.

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Studio portraits (and a Q & A) of boxer Sarah Kuhn

Posted in boxing, Foley Photography, Portraits on January 17th, 2011 by foley71

I had a studio session with undefeated (2-0) professional boxer Sarah Kuhn at the Foley Photography home studio (Mechanicville, New York) recently.  The 27-year-old from Schoharie, New York, will fight at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, New York, on January 22nd (against Cassandra Lindsey). In addition to sitting for portraits, Sarah answered some questions about her boxing career:

Jeff Foley: How did you get into boxing?

Sarah Kuhn: I got into boxing kinda by mistake. I was looking for a new fitness routine and I passed a ballet studio on my way to my gym. I did a lot of dance when I was a kid and thought that I could pick that back up. I tried the studio three different times, but it was always closed. Two doors down was Sweeney’s Boxing and Fitness. I walked in to check it out and met the owner (Rick). I went in a few days later for a trial and I left exhausted but intrigued. I told myself as I walked to my car “If you’re going to do this, give it 100%. If not, don’t go back.” Well, I went back.

Jeff Foley: How does amateur boxing differ from life as a professional?

Sarah Kuhn: Professional boxing is a world of difference from the amateurs! I get paid to do something that I work really hard at. I get a lot more recognition and respect, and there are a ton of rules and regulations. I think the biggest thing that I have had to learn is that being a professional athlete comes with more responsibilities. All of the sudden, people are looking up to me and watching what I do. I have to make sure that I am always conducting myself as a professional and setting the tone for myself and my team.

 Jeff Foley: What do you say to people who don’t like the idea of “a girl” fighting?

Sarah Kuhn: “Too bad!”  Ha ha, just kidding. I understand. It’s a touchy subject with some people. Boxing is typically looked at as a brutal, aggressive and angry sport. Most people don’t like to associate women with those traits. However, the truth is that most of us that box don’t see it as that kind of sport at all. We find it to be the “sweet science.” While you have to be in great shape to box, you also have to have the mental drive and the heart to be great. You have to be able to think, react, be aggressive and defensive in a two-minute period. Sometimes I think that women are MORE cut out for boxing. :)

Jeff Foley: What message do you hope to send to young girls by working as a boxer?

Sarah Kuhn: I want young girls to look at me and say “If she can do something like that, then I can, too.” I don’t expect everyone to become a professional boxer, but I do expect all to believe in their potential. Boxing has taught me that by working hard and dedicating myself, that I would be able to accomplish anything I set my mind to. It has given me the confidence to be my own person, and to get through setbacks that most women deal with.

Jeff Foley: How much time to do you put in training?

Sarah Kuhn: I dedicate six days a week to my training. I average about two hours a day in the gym and about 14 to 20 rounds of sparring a week. I have to maintain a pretty healthy lifestyle as well, so the training doesn’t end when I leave the gym. Sometimes it’s hard to watch my friends going out and having fun late nights when I have to be up to train in the morning, but the reward is so great.

Jeff Foley: Do you ever end up becoming friends with people you meet in the ring?

Sarah Kuhn: I think we all have a mutual respect for each other. I appreciate the work that my opponents put in and I’m sure they feel the same way about me. I tried talking to my opponent after my last fight, she didn’t seem interested … But that’s just me, I’m pretty friendly (after the fight).

Jeff Foley: What do you love about boxing?

Sarah Kuhn: I love the training. I love the relationship that I have with my trainer. I love that, when the bell rings, I have myself to depend on. It’s me that put in the work, it’s me that’s going to battle. In the end … I have myself to answer to. I like the responsibility. I love the attention. I love being rewarded for something that I work so hard for. I love my friends and family cheering me on.

Jeff Foley: What do you dislike about boxing?

Sarah Kuhn: I don’t like the stereotypes that go with being a woman in the sport. Don’t tell me that women should not be in the ring. I work just as hard (as men), dedicate just as much time to the sport, and still manage to be a beautiful, strong, independent and fabulous woman.

Jeff Foley: Where do you hope to go with your boxing career?

Sarah Kuhn: My ultimate goal in boxing is to fight for and win a world title. I know it’s in my future and I know that I have a trainer that will get me there. More importantly though, I want to inspire. If I come across one person that says “I worked hard and achieved a goal that I never thought possible because of your story,” then I will have accomplished something even greater than a world title.

You can see Sarah in person, and in action, the evening of January 22nd, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, New York. You can purchase tickets to the fight card by calling 518-527-2331.

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Studio portrait of professional boxer Sarah Kuhn

Posted in boxing, Foley Photography, Portraits on January 11th, 2011 by foley71

I had a studio session with undefeated (2-0) professional boxer Sarah Kuhn at the Foley Photography home studio recently. There’s much more to come from this shoot, but I wanted to throw up a teaser image. The 27-year-old from Schoharie, New York, will fight at the Crowne Plaza in Albany, New York, on January 22nd (against Cassandra Lindsey).

Sarah is in great shape — she’d better be with the amount of time she spends in the gym — and she’s got a bright future ahead of her. Check back for more portraits later …

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Professional boxing (Albany, New York), behind the scenes

Posted in boxing on November 14th, 2010 by foley71

I’ve got a fairly extensive history as a fight photographer. I’ve shots dozens of fight cards, and I’ve had fight pictures published in places like Ring Magazine and I also do some sparring, and I have quite a few good friends who are boxers.

Nevertheless, it’s not the action I like to shoot. It’s the behind-the-scenes stuff, like the image above.

That’s professional boxer Sarah Kuhn of Albany, N.Y., in a “locker room’ at Albany’s Washington Avenue Armory, waiting for her bout with Texan Ashleigh Curry (hence the cowboy hat — Kuhn and her team tailor their outfits to her opponents). After this quiet moment, Kuhn walked to ring and won a convicing decision, advancing to 2-0.

I waited by this mirror for some time, knowing that this shot would happen eventually. A lot of what I do when it comes to photojournalism happens like that — I try to predict where the action will be and how best to capture it.

This is Plattsburg’s Jaclyn Trivilino, who shared a locker room with Kuhn and Troy’s Shawn Miller. Trivilino fought Nydia Feliciano of the Bronx for the female NYS Jr. Featherweight Title. The fight ended in a draw and the title remains vacant.

Finally, this is who I was at the Armory to photography — light heavyweight Shawn Miller (seated in the chair moments before his fight).

Shawn is one of my best friends and I have a love-hate relationship with shooting his fights. As an image-maker, I love these moments before the fight, when I can illustrate how alone a fighter is and how unglamorous and unromantic this pursuit is. However, I detest photographing Shawn in the ring. We’ve been friends for a long, long time, and I hate the thought that someone wants to hurt him.

On this night, though, Shawn advanced his record to 4-1 with a second round knockout of Houston’s Larry Hopkins. Here’s the punch that ended the fight:

Great work, Shawn! And congrats to all of the fighters who had the courage to step into the ring.

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