Personal Project | Intro to “Pekx” Nanai

This is Lepeka “Pekx” Nanai, an power-lifter training in Melbourne, Australia. He’s a pretty inspirational dude.

Lepeka "Peks" Nanai Powerlifter | Korinek Photography

Screen grab from my interview with Lepeka “Pekx” Nanai

How I found Pekx

On April 18, I put a call-out on my Facebook page. I asked people to share who in their life inspires them; if there’s anyone they know who’s up to something amazing. I got a few answers, and one of them was about Pekx. My friend Zoe powerlifts with the Melbourne University Weightlifting and Powerlifting Club and said that he might be an ideal candidate for my project. I asked why.

Pekx isn’t an ordinary powerlifter. He’s only been doing it for 3-4 years and came to the sport after being blinded by two separate random events. He now hold 3 world records in Blind Powerlifting and will be heading to the World Open Championships in Moscow where he will be competing against sighted competitors.

This definitely caught my interest, and Zoe was kind enough to set up a meeting for me to meet Pekx during one of the Club’s workouts.

Meeting Pekx

I took the tram down to Melbourne University and walked over to the Beaurepaire Centre where the Club holds its workouts. He wanted to meet me before he agreed to working on my project with me. I also wanted to meet him to make sure that his story was one I wanted to tell.

After a hearty handshake, we sat down and I told him about my project. I enrolled him in what I was trying to create over the noise of grunting, yelling and heavy weights being dropped after successful lifts. Pekx would step away from the conversation from time to time to go and do a set while I tried to figure out what angle I wanted to take on his story. Then it hit me…

It is written on his shirt

Don’t think, just do. Respect. Pretty clear message if you ask me. Of course his biographical story is inspiring, but in a way I felt it was too obvious. Too easy. Thing was, I wasn’t looking to just do a storytelling project around a blind powerlifter, I wanted my project to do something more.

The Project

It all connects with where I’m taking Korinek Photography. I am committed to creating the possibility of a visual storytelling business that makes a difference in people’s lives. As part of that, I’m taking on attracting inspirational people to participate in a series of storytelling pieces. These piece include a mixture of video, photographs, social media and blog posts.

The aim is to shine a light on people who are living their lives powerfully and doing what they love. My intent is to touch, move and inspire people to applying the lessons successful people use on their own lives.

To me the idea of living in action instead of letting the thoughts in your head stop you was where I connected with Pekx’s story. That’s the place I’m coming from. How can you all apply a bit of “Don’t think, just do” to the things in life that are important to you?

Stay tuned for more on this project.

As always, feel free to share your perspective in the comment section below and share this story with your friends and social networks. Thanks for your support!

*In the original version of this post I accidentally spelled Pekx  with an “s” (Peks). After speaking with him at our last shoot, I asked him which he preferred and he said Pekx, hence the changes!


6 Comments on “Personal Project | Intro to “Pekx” Nanai”

  1. Zoe Lake says:

    Fantastic photo Matt! Sounds like you and Peks really hit it off. Can’t wait to see the finished film!

  2. Vera says:

    This sounds like an awesome project. And it sure goes along with “living in the moment” philosophy and not over-thinking stuff. I am also looking forward to more!

    • Matt Korinek says:

      It has been pretty awesome. Still have a lot of work to go. Will be shooting additional footage on Monday and hopefully fit in a photo shoot next week as well.

  3. Dave Jame says:

    Hi Matt, this is the first chance I’ve had to check the blog out and I’m sitting on some free internet at Hong Kong airport on my way to coach and support Pekx at the Open World Champs. Great job on taking the initiative to tell his story, it’s already amazing, but I hope in a few days time there’ll be another great chapter to add to it!

    Dave Jame
    MUWPC President and Aus Team Coach.

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