DAVID TO PHOTOGRAPH AT PACKERS VS GIANTS
At 9.40pm UK time on Sunday, I will be able to tick another “must do“ off my photography bucket list. I can barely contain my excitement and there is still another 2 days to go.
Whilst I make my living taking pictures of the natural world, my roots are in sports photography and over the last 30 years I have been privileged to be pitch side at a World Cup Final, photograph Olympics and US Masters.
I have always enjoyed working in the great homes of the great sports clubs and 15 months ago, this drew me to the home of Borussia Dortmund – a thunderous and magnificent stadium – fit for the world’s biggest sports club by membership. My picture below of the famous “Yellow Wall“ is now displayed in the Dortmund Boardroom.
Dortmund is an artisan’s football club – for the people, by the people and is all the better for it. It is may lack the glamour and money of the regal Bayern Munich to the south, but no one can deny that the club has an aura forged from an estimable history and consistency of culture. It is a cathedral to the working man that is unrivalled in Europe.
But 4100 miles west of the industrial Ruhr, in sleepy Wisconsin, there is perhaps a sports franchise that is even more fabled and artisan than Dortmund. In a town of just 100,000 sits the legendary Lambeau Field – home of the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, the Packers will play the New York Giants in the Playoffs and over 83,000 people will be packed into a monster of an outdoor ground.
Founded in 1919, the Packers have a mystique born partly out of their remote location, but more out of the fact that the games at Lambeau – particularly playoff games in January, can be played in quite ridiculously low temperatures. It can be frigid.
I confess to a long visceral fascination with the place in the depth of winter draw and on Sunday the wait will be over. As things stand, it looks like the temperature will be around – 16 degrees at kickoff and then get lower. I cannot recall ever being in a ground with 80,000 where the temperature is even a quarter that low. The visual possibilities in the last hour of sunlight should be boundless. I know that there will be some special ball players on show – Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and America’s Beckham Jr. for the giants, but much like Dortmund, my camera will be on the crowd.
When I walk out on Lambeau Field on Sunday, with hand warmers, a bucket of spare batteries and a pitch pass courtesy of Sports Illustrated, I will remind myself that photography is firstly about access and secondly about using that access to document fresh detail.
It is up to me to rise to the occasion in one of the most remarkable locations in the sporting world.