Radcliffe on a Tuesday Night

FC United V Radcliffe Boro

Whilst cultivating my project idea around football, capitalism and the non commercialised game. I decided to go and take photographs at a match between Radcliffe Borough and FC United of Manchester. It was a crisp Tuesday evening and an opportunity to create work in an environment where I had no affiliation with anyone which was strange because I’ve been to thousands of football matches but very few have I attended where my only intention was to take photographs.

My intention was to shoot faces and emotion whilst getting as close as I could however I initially found this difficult because I was sharing the same space as the spectators and their attention was at the pitch. As a result I decided to wait for conversations to happen in addition to choosing my position wisely.

I was also conscious that I was shooting at night therefore I was aware that I needed to look for areas where the night fell from the pitch. I also used an on camera flash which I chose to shoot upwards. I wasn’t sure how useful this would be but I felt that I was better with the option to use it.

I approached some of the spectators and asked them if I could take their photograph with varying levels of success. What I found interesting about this was listening to the stories people had and their reasons for attending the match, the best reason being ‘a cheap date’ having spent a fortune having a meal a night earlier.

I found it difficult to get as close as I usually would when shooting an event such as a wedding and I adjusted my approach accordingly. At points it occurred to me that I was cheating and not working hard enough, in response I decided to approach more people rather than shooting documentary/candid.

I also decided to shoot a 70-200 in addition to a 24-70 lens which allowed me to shoot from further away, this was interesting as I already felt that my task was lacking depth by not shooting close enough however I felt the results were effective especially when altercations occurred between the players and managers.

When shooting the 70-200 I felt like more of a sports photographer as opposed to a documentary photographer. I quite enjoyed this especially as I found myself ideally positioned to document the tension between the management teams and spectators.

At present my observations have taken me in the direction of Stuart Roy Clarke which has served as motivation to engage further with the football theme. The ideas of Berger in relation to publicity photographs and their relevance in an ideological sense.

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