Although Schatz is a master of sculpting subjects with light, it was the athletes' bodies that most garnered his attention. He directed boxers to imagine that someone was building a museum of boxing, and they'd be making a gigantic statue of a boxer using this pose as a model. How would you pose? And the boxers helped the photographer find strong, graphic, iconic poses.
"I always see the body as sculpture," Schatz explains, "biological sculpture. There are all sorts of study of the body here, every part of the upper torso especially. There's a picture in the book of a boxer's back. It's sideways in the book, a double-page spread, bent over, tattooed, muscular. I remember making that image. I've shot a thousand backs, but I saw differently that moment, and I lit it differently, and I worked in postproduction to multi-tone it differently, and I felt it really is iconic sculpture."
Many images in At The Fights are sure to become iconic, but even if they didn't, even if the book had never seen the light of day, Schatz still would consider the endeavor a resounding success. After all, he succeeded at the one thing he sets out to do day after day: He delighted himself.
"It's not work," he says. "I'm addicted to amazing myself. I'm addicted to the high that comes from making images that surprise me. I can't always do it, it's sometimes elusive and evanescent and difficult, but I keep yearning and working and striving for that high, for that feeling."