As a photographer of football, I’ve gotten to know many other snappers who hold the same, if not more, dedication towards capturing the beautiful game as me.
This article gathers together some of these fabulous photographers’ personal favourite shots of the season and, in their own words, why their chosen shot is their favourite. I’ve also added my own observations on each picture.
“Here’s my favourite shot of the season, which I have called ‘Mixed Emotion’ taken at St. Neots versus Slough Town. Slough won the match 1-0. Sean Sonner had just scored the winner and ran into the arms of the fans that are going mad… with the exception of one Saints fan in the middle of the shot.
The other reason it is my favourite is that one of our fans had an accident just before kick-off. As he was lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance, he missed the celebrations. A few weeks later this fan sadly passed away, possibly due to what had happened to him at the match and the subsequent operation that he had to undertake. Mixed emotions on many levels.”
Gary sums up the passion of football in this one picture. Sometimes, turning around and capturing the reaction is more powerful than photographing the action itself. I especially love the fist-pumping chap in the top left. (Stuart)
“My favourite shot of the season was taken at Poole v Gosport Borough in the Southern League Playoff Final. Steve Claridge had just scored a last minute equaliser. This was one of my season’s favourites as it showed just what it meant to the players in a game that looked like they were about to lose and end their season. This goal turned the match around and they earned promotion.”
I’ve always been a keen follower of Paul’s work and this photo sums up why. Not only has he photographed a poignant moment but even got a bit of a footballing cult legend in his picture to boot… how about that!? (Stuart)
Paul’s brilliant work can be viewed here.
“This is a photo of Jason Baker – goalkeeper for Essex Senior Premier League champions Witham Town FC. I personally like this photo because it shows the concentration and determination on the goalkeeper’s face as he is about to kick the ball. Technically I think it is a decent image and captures his aggressive style (although he is a very friendly and approachable guy off the field). I have managed to get the ball and the subject in focus and the background bokeh gives a nice portrait feel.”
It’s often hard to capture pin-sharp sporting images under poor, artificial light, but Alam has been able to perfectly freeze the action here. My eyes are instantly drawn to the ball (anyone else think it looks like the moon? No? Just me then), and then onto the keeper’s expression. Technically, this is a great shot. (Stuart)
“Of all the matches I photographed during the 2011/12 football season, the ‘international’ friendly between the Principality of Sealand and Chagos Islands, at Godalming Town Football Club has to be the most unusual, and most memorable. I think it helps if there is a ‘back story’ to an image, and although the Sealand story of resistance and giving the ‘finger’ to authority is interesting enough and inevitably caught most of the headlines, the match meant a lot more to the Chagossians. Forcibly exiled from their home and still campaigning for their right to return, their supporters certainly made their presence felt in leafy Surrey. In this image I really like the contrast between them and the more reserved, and indeed bemused, spectators in front of them.”
There’s a reason why David is a published, award-winning photographer and he doesn’t disappoint here. David’s style often focuses on what’s happening around the game itself and there’s not many better around. There’s always a great story behind his images and this one, as explained by David himself, is just one example. (Stuart)
“Not sure why this one has stuck out in my mind this season, but it has. I take most pictures standing, but on this occasion I sat on the floor. It featured in BBC’s Football Focus Magazine, and although they approached me, I think it was more because they were doing an article on Uxbridge FC and needed photos rather than because they had heard of me. I like the fact that I can still look at this picture and although he looks as though he is going to pass the defender, the position of his foot and ball tell me otherwise!”
There’s certainly an added level of pride when your work is featured in such a renowned publication. Colin has captured the action spot-on and certainly wouldn’t look out of place in any newspaper or magazine. (Stuart)
Colin’s work can be found via his website Kapture- It.
“My favourite photo of last season is one in Huy, Belgium, where the youth teams of RFC Huy play in the shadow of the Tihange Nuclear Power Station. This picture was taken on a Saturday morning. As far as I know, this location has never been showcased on a football/ground hopping blog before. Only the locals seem to know about this football ground. On my search for lower-league Belgian football grounds with a special backdrop, I discovered this gem using Google maps. I had to drive almost two hours to get to this location, but immediately when I arrived I knew this area was a great chance to take a nice picture.”
Jurgen has a real cult following amongst photographers and football lovers alike and one look at this picture and the many others on his highly recommended website – GroundHopping will tell you exactly why. I honestly can look at his work for hours. Capturing such interesting, and often beautiful scenes with football as an added theme. His images always make me want to visit the Low Countries more. (Stuart)
“My favourite picture this season is a picture of Ross Stearn and Alan Griffin playing for Chippenham against AFC Totton. Chippenham had been going through a bad spell and goals were not forthcoming, so when they finally scored, the expressions on their faces said it all.”
Photography is all about expressions and Richard’s photo has this in abundance. The chap on the right really makes this photo. Awesome! (Stuart)
“I enjoyed looking back over the season of photographs yesterday and finally settled on my favourite shot! Although I like to capture a good mid-air challenge or crunching tackle, I also like to catch the almost balletic poise of a single player on the ball. This was a shot that definitely stood out when reviewing. I love the way the ball seems to be glued to his foot. The players in the background play their part in the photo too.”
Synchronised football… that’s what I thought when I first looked at this picture. Notice how all the players seem to be in the same pose. Symmetry and repetition in photography can be very powerful. I also love the colours. The shirts pop from the background so well. (Stuart)
Joanna’s photos can be viewed here.
“I think this is my favourite shot because of the raw emotion in this, with Sam Cochrane, the captain of both Guernsey FC and the Guernsey FA representative team lifting his third cup of the season. Alongside him is the inimitable Chris Tardif, goalkeeper extraordinaire. It sums up the culmination of a season for football in Guernsey like we have never had before and the finest Muratti cup win in a number of years.”
It certainly was a special year for Guernsey FC (read my report seeing them play here) and I know Fran is an avid supporter. When you have such an emotional attachment to a picture, it’s easy to see why it becomes a favourite. Again, this picture is all about emotion and the result of a season’s hard work is for all to see. (Stuart)
“From 16,500+ pictures this season so far (as still going) I have initially got it down to three favourites, but in the end, I’m going for this one. It’s titled, Don’t despair as you win in the end.” (Dulverton Town 4-3 Staplegrove Res 17/03/12-Taunton & District Saturday League).
Wow. Check out the disappointment. I love this photo. Martin’s capture won a monthly competition hands down with this effort and it’s not hard to see why. I also can’t believe that Martin has taken over 16,500 pictures this season… that’s some going! (Stuart)
Martin’s photography can be viewed here.
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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted their work for this piece. Sometimes photography is more than about capturing a still image. It’s also a fantastic way to become part of a community who share the same passions as you.
Author – Stuart Tree