The Photography of Gene X. Hwang

If you are not familiar with this individual, you’ve probably seen his work. Die hard fans of female strength, fitness, and bodybuilding sports already know the name of Gene X. Hwang . His photography captures the beauty, power, grace, and athleticism of the muscular woman .His work does not only focus on the world of fitness, but it includes an assortment clients from the corporate world and marketing communications industry. Not only is he a great photographer, Gene also is a businessman. Gene X. Hwang is the co-founder of Orange Photography. This company specializes in professional photography for individuals, events, and companies. Gene X. Hwang also runs a website Gene X His website features photographs, articles, and a members area discussing female bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini, and physique contests. James Cook also contributes to the site with a blog and contest coverage. Gene X. Hwang  has in many ways delivered coverage that  fitness magazines ignore and provides it to loyal fans. It is clear by his high quality work, that he is also a fan. He has sated “I always thought these women looked cool, like real-life superheroes (I collected comics as a kid), but it wasn’t until one of my friends at school asked me to shoot her at a bodybuilding show that I really started to pay attention to these strong women.” Gene X. Hwang  has been doing photo shoots with these athletes since the 1990s. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area over the years he has photographed some of the sport’s top competitors. He does deserve recognition for his efforts and contributions to the sport.


Besides his interest in photography and athletic women, he is a fan of pinball. Gene X. Hwang became a fan while witnessing a tournament. His favorite photographer is Edward  Burtynsky, which appears as if his works are his artistic inspiration.  Mr. Hwang has said his favorite thing about photography is ” is how it allows you to share how you see the world.” He has shown as a world of female muscle that otherwise would be hidden. His photos capture the atmosphere of competition, the personalities of the sport, and a fascinating subculture. The question remains what motivates such work ? As Mr.Hwang explains “I get inspired by people more than anything: people who make an impact, or how people can affect the world.” To him and fans of female muscle these women are inspirations. Their struggles and triumphs are demonstrated through his photos. His work is like a documented history carefully being archived.

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What makes him an excellent photographer is that he does more than just women in bikini shots. Many female muscle fans are accustomed to this. He does not avoid them entirely, but has variety in his fitness photography portfolio. Photographs that Gene X. Hwang takes can feature women in dresses, on stage, or just standard portrait format. Athletes are presented in a respectful manner and not sexually objectified. Mainstream magazine publications do sexually objectify female athletes that appear on their covers. The “sex sells” concept has been harmful to women’s sports. Hwang’s photography is so masterful that he does not need to resort to that to sell his work. Making a quality photograph is more than just having the right equipment. It relies on concepts of aesthetic, how lighting is manipulated, presentation, and perspectives in regards to photography as an art.

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Gene’s photos have athletes in various settings. Models could be on the beach, around parking lots, the street, or in a nature setting. No matter were it is the environment adds to the charm of the photograph. It gains a since of character. Simultaneously, the photograph captures certain elements and beliefs. As Gene describes it : “I realized though early on that there is no such thing as totally objective photography.”  Which means a photographer has an intent with the photo taken. It is more than just a picture; it is the concept of image itself. When Gene takes pictures he does so to present strong, capable, and beautiful women. These photos show a new paradigm of womanhood that combines strength and pulchritude. Gene explains ” Even in the news business every photographer brings a part of themselves to the images that they create.” Being a fan of female muscle, he will present them in a respectful and honorable manner. The women are presented almost in a heroic stature.


You can see more of Gene’s work at ftvideo. As a member you can get access to thousands of photos and clips. 

Gene X. Hwang has mentioned his interest in muscular women is rooted in his love of comic books as a child. Another art form, regularly depicted are women with muscular physiques. At first his desire was to be a photojournalist. However, it appears he is doing better going into business for himself. Many claim that female bodybuilding is in a state of death. Websites like the one Gene X. Hwang are helpful, because it gives the sport more exposure to a larger audience. Fans can go to read about contest results, see videos, and view exclusive interviews. Since the 1990s the site has been going strong. He is doing something the fitness industry does not. Gene X. Hwang has made the athletes marketable. The sport can be saved, but the gatekeepers do not care. May be this is a positive development. Seeing as Gene is a supportive fan, he knows what others would like. His associate James Cook also is very passionate about the sport. James Cook also provides high quality photographs and produces videos for the site. Their services are valuable. Athletes benefit from these shoots, because it can provide some funds for them.


Gene X. Hwang with his associate James Cook. 

Most of the Weider publications provide minimal coverage of women’s events. This is common just like other women’s sports. Although unfair, it allowed entrepreneurs such as these photographers to start something popular among fans. The corporate gatekeepers of the sport should take notice. Not only does Gene provide photos, he writes. Gene X. magazine has interviews and articles that discuss the fitness industry. Seeing as he enjoys variety in his work, even candid photos are fun to look at.


Before competitors step on stage there are preparations that have to be made. There is a level of chaos, tumult, and nervousness, but celebration that is captured in the photos. It almost feels like one is actually there . Looking at Gene’s work exposes the viewer to a microcosm. A world that is unknown to many. Gene also does back and white photos, which add a nice style and aesthetic.

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This retro like feel establishes another dynamic. While color photos are pleasing, black and white photos have a quaint manner about them. Fans rarely seem to appreciate this variety in photos. They either like more of the on stage competition photos or regular bikini shots. Gene X. Hwang takes his sports photography a little further. This makes him very unique in the field. Many athletes recognize his talent and are pleased with his work.


Athletes seek his photography talents for their websites. He has good friendships  with his photography subjects, which makes production much easier. Gene X. Hwang’s photos have become ubiquitous in the female muscle world and for good reason. Orange Photography also does physique photography, in which Gene contributes to a large portfolio. The company has been around since 2001 and shows no sign of slowing down.


Orange Photography

We admire the athletic feats of the women, but often forget the people who contribute behind the scenes. Photographers who bring wonderful art to the public are a forgotten group. Gene X. Hwang’s work is a historical documentation of the development of female bodybuilding from the late 1990s to present. Since then, multiple categories have emerged in the sport. Gene X. Hwang deserves praise and recognition for extraordinary photos that capture these amazing women.

The Photography of Gene X. Hwang

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