Cory Layman

The definition of a physically fit woman is often misaligned with being super skinny. But photographer Cory Layman is out to challenge that stereotype with his riveting roller derby photo series “Body by Derby.”

Priscilla Ward
April 08, 2015

The definition of a physically fit woman is often misaligned with being super skinny and seriously lacking in muscle. But Jasper, Indiana, photographer Cory Layman is out to challenge that stereotype with his riveting photo series “Body by Derby.”

Inspired by Howard Schatz’s Athlete, Layman’s snaps feature roller derby players of different ages and sizes, highlighting the variety of body types that engage in this highly athletic sport.

“I wanted to put together a source for skaters to come to, to see what real derby bodies looked like. And, at the same time, I wanted them to have context and understanding about that body,” he told Health. “I wanted them to see bodies which were similar to themselves and see that those bodies were beautiful, and maybe, for a brief moment, understand that their own body is just as beautiful.”

While Layman’s initial goal was to impact others by promoting body confidence, he admits that his project has had a profound affect on him as well. Specifically, one woman told him she decided against getting plastic surgery after she saw his portrait of her.

“For that skater to make such a profound decision based upon my photos of her is very touching,” Layman said. “How does one really come to grips with the idea that my vision allowed someone to understand how beautiful they are? I will never claim that I am a great or acclaimed artist, I'm simply someone who's out to photograph people and try to show them what I see.”

Here are some of Layman's powerful images of derby athletes:

Tru D. Vicious of Cincinnati Rollergirls in Cincinnati, Ohio

Photo: Cory Layman

G-Rocket of Naptown Rollergirls in Indianapolis, Indiana

Photo: Cory Layman

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Ginger Snapped of South Bend Rollergirls in South Bend, Indiana

Photo: Cory Layman

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T.K.O. Rose of Springfield's Queen City Roller Derby in Springfield, Missouri

Photo: Cory Layman

Chokehold Chanel of Arch Rival Rollergirls in St. Louis, Missouri

Photo: Cory Layman

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