The point of this blog was to act as a diary of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, however with 65 days still to go, we are still arguing with local airlines about carry on luggage , trying to secure £13,000 car hire deals for 16 photographers for 6 weeks and still have to stick to the day job of covering on going tournaments like the UEFA Champions League.
And to make matters worse, I have finally caught the bug.
No, not the crazy bug of blogging, but this virus, this illness that has been spreading around the photo fraternity. Drugged up with Lemsip, like a true solider I stormed out of my house at 3am after going to bed at 1am, made the trip to pick someone else up along the way and arrived at the airport (airports deserve a 5,000 word rant from photographers – another time!) Land in Barcelona, sleep the majority of the day, do the game, sleep, wake up, fly back, go to Man U, be more ill and eventually drop dead on the lounge floor coughing and spluttering at 3am.
One of the things that winds me up most is assumption. (This is not my airport rant by the way)
People normally associate airports as the escape from norm of their 9-5 lives. It’s the first port of call to two weeks in the sun. The opportunity to explore a foreign culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring too. When on tour with Simple Minds I see all kind of towns and cities I would never have a reason of visiting.
Ditch the tour guides and make your own book. I once met a postman from Guernsey who had been delivering the mail for 9 years. Even after 9 years he still found undiscovered roads on an island that is only 12 miles long by 9 miles wide. Seek and discover for yourself, that’s my philosophy.
However I just know too many modern couples who jet off to Barcelona for a weekend and obviously have a great time seeing the city and spectacularly assume a football photographers daily life is the glamour and luxury of their weekend break. People assume we too walk down Las Ramblas see the Picasso Museum, visit the Proble Espanyol de Montjuic and THEN get to go to a football match for free!
Well, in short, we don’t!
People only Observe what they want to see. Many never see the whole picture.
When people spot us on Champions League TV, sitting by the corner flag with stars like Messi only meters from us, the assumption that we are having a ball. It’s a football fans dream to be where we sit however dreams and the assumption of glamour are often very far from reality.
The TV provides entertainment and the chance to view the goings on in foreign stadiums, but it does not show the cold, it does not depict that the ‘lucky’ photographer has not slept for 2 days and has to work intensively once the final whistle is blown and the adverts kick in. Trying to find somewhere to eat at midnight in most cities means terrible unhealthy food. Then we have to be in a taxi at 6am to get us to the airport for the next destination.
With the world’s media in attendance, I’m thankful of my publications in Switzerland, Germany and possibly a few other places, but at least The Guardian are sympathetic to my addiction to Lemsip and help fund the paracetamols for the next days adventure at Manchester United.
I’m happy with this picture. I was in the pound seats when Bendtner scored and celebrated right in front of me. Payment for the helicopter flying school could have been paid off until 3 minutes later Messi decided to start scoring. Of course the newspapers go with the story and the story is that no longer are Arsenal in the semi final.
All attention is on Sr Messi.
Luckily he scores his fourth near me but by then with already three goals under his belt, even the worst photographer working for a major wire agency has at least one celebration and goal leaving me needing to find ‘something different’.
My favorite picture of the day was taken by Carl Recine whose feature picture of the groundsman painting the FCB badge onto the Barcelona pitch using a huge yellow stencil graced the front page of The Guardian’s gallery. I’ll have to look out for that again and pretend that I did not get the idea from Carl next time I go to the Nou Camp for the semi final v Inter.