FIFA World Cup 2010 (Dispatches From The Couch)
Ah, The World Cup... Every 4 years the world watches to see what country will step up and grab the FIFA Winner's Cup. It is a solid month of breath holding, grimace inducing, fist pumping, nail biting and in the case of this year's games in South Africa, aurally assaulting cacophonies of sound. Think Vuvuzelas, the scourge of stadiums everywhere! The team chants and cheers could scarcely be heard over the din of noise from those blasted instruments of cheap plastic that cost pennies to make and major consumer dollars to buy.
There is the agony of defeat and the exhilaration of victory. The beauty of an emerald green pitch under brilliant stadium lights. The heart-felt and heart-swelling singing of a national anthem. The anticipation of hearing that celebratory word "Gooooooal!" and the possibility of seeing a victory jig, slide or shirt wave. The spotting of a brilliant Pele' worthy move. The outrageous spectators in all their fanatical finery of face paint, scarves, capes, hats, flags, etc... The staccato blast of a whistle. The wave of an orange and yellow flag. That tense moment that a Ref reaches into his pocket, and like magic, he reveals a "wait for it" red card or yellow card.
This year there were many surprising outcomes. There were humbling blunders by goalkeepers, ahem, England's Robert Green, and French team tantrums and meltdowns. The flamboyant and exciting South American teams lost their steam. Brazil, always a faithful entertainer, failed to dazzle and show off what I like to call a little "Brazilification". The United States played a truly historical game, with Landon Donovan scoring the winning goal over Algeria in the ninety first minute. A scrappy Uruguay showcased an unstoppable Diego Forlan and a shamed "I'll Just Stop This Goal With My Hands, Luis Suarez" but they absolutely would not go down without a fight. Argentina may have lacked excitement on the field, but their biggest fan cheered the loudest from the sidelines, the exuberant and always nattily dressed (including lucky charm bracelets) coach Diego Maradona. Paraguay "sweetened" up the pitch as they stormed the field in their signature red and white stripey socks, reminiscent of a swirl of candy canes on the move.
The European teams showed their superiority on the pitch. Germany commanded attention with solid defensive players that had mantra inducing names like Schweinsteiger. Portugal? Well Portugal features Cristiano Ronaldo right? You know "he's" famous the world round when he is immortalized as a diamond stud in the ear wearing Simpsons character. In the words of Homer Simpson "Ronal-DOH!". Ultimately it was Spain who stepped up and took its rightful place on the winner's platform. Carles Puyol, David Villa, Andres Iniesta and company dominated and dazzled with signature Latin flair. The Netherlands' Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were a blur of orange on the pitch, but ultimately "The Orange Crush" was crushed in the final. All in all it was an incredible month and I can't wait until 4 years from now. I just wish I didn't have to wait that long!
I figure since I couldn't go to South Africa, I'd bring South Africa to me... with a twist. I've had a lot of fun being creative with these shots. It's kind of liberating in a way, quite playful really. Who knew that photographing a television screen could be so interesting? I loved the vibrant colors and the abstract quality that many of the photographs conveyed. "Football" or "Soccer" if you are in America, is a vibrant, colorful and fast paced sport in its own right. I love the game almost as much as I love photography! I hope one day I'll be able to photograph an actual match instead of just watching it on television. Until then, television will have to suffice.
This was just a fun way to be creative and combine the two things I love the most in life, soccer and photography. Sure, some may scoff at taking pictures of a t.v. screen. That's okay with me because hey, I've at least created my own souvenir pictures with the luxury of sitting on my own couch, cheering right along with the fans in the stadium seats, wearing mismatched pajamas if I chose to and "not" having an overzealous Vuvuzela wielding spectator assaulting my eardrums. It's all good.