On June 11th the wait will finally be over. 32 teams from all over the planet will meet in South Africa to figure out which nation will be on top of the soccer heap for the next 4 years. The best players will try everything to become legends. Ordinary people will strut like roosters if their team is winning or lose every last ounce of self esteem if their country can’t make it out of the group phase. Productivity levels all over the world will be way down. Good times.
Much, much further down the skill ladder I have been playing New York City soccer and it has been nothing short of a great experience. For years I’ve been playing every Wednesday at the edge of Chinatown in a game that was started by English, Irish and Scottish bartenders and has since expanded to include a regular cast of footballers from Mexico, Brazil, Australia, China, Sweden, Vietnam, the United States, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Columbia, Turkey, Austria, France, Germany (of course) and maybe even the occasional Welshman.
Beside the obvious benefits of exercise, comradery and acquaintance with bar-tenders, the game has also been a great source of models, for all sorts of shoots, for me. A lot of soccer players know how to move, and quite a few know how to act. Especially the Italians.
In the picture above I photographed Hassan, a very skilled Moroccan striker and Peter, a tough Irish midfielder during a stock shoot for Getty.
We shot at a studio with a cement floor cushioned by an extra thick futon mattress, that’s why we needed a tough guy for the flying header.
We lit the place with a mix of Pro Acutes and Elinchromes. The flash duration was a bit on the slow side, so we got a tiny amount of motion blur which I like better than the completely frozen look. The 2 players were shot separately and combined in Photoshop. The camera was a Rollei 6003 with an 80 mm lens and we shot on Kodak NC 160.
Enjoy the World Cup and let’s all hope the German team wins.