Photographer Sergey Melnitchenko uses his series, “Schwarzenegger is my idol,” to tell the story of a few young men from Nikolayev (Ukraine) who all want to be the best athletes they can be. Melnitchenko said that the guys in his images are all united by “a goal to become the best of the best and they will do everything possible to achieve it.”
The photos in this series all depict nude men doing what they do best–working out. Melnitchenko says that the guys in the images “engage in athletics, acrobatics, fitness, and bodybuilding.” All are determined to be successful, and Melnitchenko’s images show their pure desire to make it to the top.
Speaking of the series, Melnitchenko said, “I asked one of the boys to tell me what role his hobby plays in his life. Here’s what he told me: ‘For me, my sport is what I live for. Daily control and hard work–that leads me to success. Sport disciplines a man, enables him to understand the value of labor, the value of choice. I always wanted to be something more than an ordinary man in the street, more colossal than an ordinary representative of the society, so in my sport I do all the best I can, because I want to reach the top.'”
His images show the raw passion that these young men have for their fitness–each photograph of a man is paired with a different photograph of the gym, the equipment, or instructions. Melnitchenko didn’t decide on photographing nude models on a whim. Addressing the reason for making the models strip down, Melnitchenko said, “Why are my ‘models’ naked? I think it adds a kind of courage and naturalness. Of course it also looks funny and ironic.”