March 30, 2011

All fallen football players look alike

Filed under: Photography,Sports by Branko Collin @ 12:32 pm

Photographer Hans van der Meer wanted to express how football players feigning injuries all look alike:

The look of grown men on the football pitch often takes the form of little theatre pieces, lying down ‘injured’ being a remarkable sub-category of this art. […] The way we ‘died’ as children playing Cowboys and Indians is how we now see our heroes in the Champions League go down on TV. […] When somebody has actually been injured they usually keep pretty still.

To that effect Van der Meer took photographs of football players acting injured, and these photos now adorn the pitch of ASV Arsenal in Amsterdam, near the old Olympic Stadium. They are part of an art project for the club called Terreinwinst, involving 11 artists and which is still in the process of being finished.

I am a great admirer of Van der Meers earlier series of European and Dutch football pitches, in which the football field was shown in its sometimes adverse surroundings. The strength of his new work, Ten Ways to Lie Down Injured, is that it paves the way for amateur photographers to add context themselves. My tip: bring a telephoto lens, as the photos are all mounted across the field.

(Submitted by Nienke van Beers)

Tags: , , , ,

April 2, 2010

Van der Meer’s portraits of football pitches

Filed under: Photography,Sports by Branko Collin @ 5:21 pm

A couple of years ago Hans van der Meer published two great photo books about amateur football, one focussing on the Netherlands, the other on Europe.

Each photo is a portrait of a football pitch, set against backdrops of cities, polders, bays, mountains, almost carved from the surroundings and sometimes literally so. These pictures immediately take you back to what football really is about: twenty-two guys (or gals) running after a ball, in solemn concentration, the only audience often one or two reserve players and a referee.

Sometimes when hiking through Dutch nature I turn a corner and stumble upon other hikers, or horizons with power lines and chimney stacks. “Oh no, civilization!” And at other times I suddenly encounter two goal posts rising from the undergrowth. “Oh yeah, civilization!”

You see, a football pitch is a promise. Something exciting could be happening here. The Huntelaar of the future could be practicing his bicycle kicks here, the next Messi his dribbles. Or players could just be having fun.

Although each of Van der Meer’s photos displays an ongoing match, it is the setting that makes it clear that here the fulfilment of that promise is taking place.

Van der Meer’s website has extensive excerpts from his books, which you can also buy at Amazon.

Tags: , ,