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Hello, wrestling fans! It’s the event you’ve been waiting for! Karen Melvin has put together “Bash,” an exhibit of the photos she took of local pro wrestling in the ’80s! We’ve got drop kicks and sleeper holds! Heroes on the ropes! Bad guys throwing chairs! Let’s go to ringside and see how it all goes down.

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ROUND ONE. Karen, How did you end up shooting all these incredible pictures?

“I was an intern for the Skyway News, and I would carry around a Polaroid and shoot Mr. and Mrs. Skyway. I’d ask questions, like, “How do you know when you’re in love?” Well, the Skyway News did the production for the wrestling program you got when you walked into the arena, and one day someone in production asked if I’d be interested in shooting for it.

“ ‘Do you know about wrestling?’ they asked, and I said: ‘Not really.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘it’s basically good against evil. Do you think you can handle that?’ ”

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Well, Karen certainly found herself in an unusual position there, fans. Let’s see what happens when she shoots her first match.

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ROUND TWO. “That first night, in April of 1984, I drove my Microbus to the St. Paul Civic Center. I had all my stuff. I was prepared — I thought. Then the wrestlers come down. Then the match begins. I was amazed. I didn’t have words. There was blood, chairs were being thrown around the place, and there was the crowd behind me in a fervor. It was a performance — but I believed everything! I believed it all!

“I went home to my small apartment, and I felt like I’d been through a war. I didn’t know if I could do it again!”

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I think we have to give that round to Karen’s opponent, but she’s not looking beat. Why, she’s bouncing around in her corner, looking to do it again.

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ROUND THREE. “The next day in the bathroom, which was my darkroom, I processed the pictures, and I thought, ‘This is great! I love this!’ I couldn’t wait to go back the next time. Immediacy! Emotion! People beating up on each other! It was like the gladiators of ancient Rome.

“So I photographed it until 1986, once a month, and I really learned how to photograph the subject matter. Talk to anyone who shoots sports: As you go again and again, you learn what the timing is, what to look for, and I learned it really well.”

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This was in the days before autofocus and other high-tech photo gimmickry, of course, which means that here comes the count: ... 3 ... 2 ... 1! It’s Karen Melvin with the win!

Let’s go to the postmatch interview: Karen, that was quite the experience. Were you ever worried about things getting out of hand?

“A couple of the wrestlers really scared me. One of them was King Kong Brody; he was murdered in a locker room in Puerto Rico. Stan ‘Lariat’ Hansen would come in with a rope with a cowbell on the end, flinging it, and I think, ‘I’m standing clear of this guy.’ There was one guy who was really scary. I think he’s selling cars now.”

But you got right in there and did what had to be done.

“Someone told me recently that in the wrestling world, red is green. You bleed, you’ll be working a lot.”

But the morality is good vs. evil, like you said. Stark as black and white — just like your pictures. Thanks for talking to us today, and bringing back an era we’re sure a lot of fans will enjoy revisiting.

James Lileks • 612-673-7858 • @Lileks

Bash

What: Exhibit of photographs from 1980s professional wrestling.

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through July 30.

Where: Mpls Photo Center, Suite 200, 2400 N. 2nd St., Mpls. Dial 200 at the front door.

Tickets: Free.

Info: ­mplsphotocenter.com.