African Arenas

  • Photographer
    Thomas Hoeffgen
  • Prize
    2nd Place / Book/Documentary, 2nd Place / Book/Other_B
  • Company/Studio
    photography
  • Date of Photograph
    1999 to 2010
  • Technical Info
    contax 4.5 x 6

I was amazed at the creative use of space in Lagos, Nigeria: In a city crammed with more than 15 million residents, football was played on practically every block, with fields shoehorned into even the tiniest open areas. Empty football pitches—with their infinite possibilities—have always had a particular fascination for me. Over the next ten years, I would shoot football pitches in Nigeria, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa. And though the focus always remained on the pitches—thus the title African Arenas, encompassing everything from sand lots to stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup—my initial concept quickly evolved.

Story

On my first trip to Lagos, Nigeria, I was amazed at the creative use of space: In a city crammed with more than 15 million residents, football was played on even the tiniest open areas. Empty football pitches have always had a particular fascination for me. I decided then and there to start shooting empty African pitches. Over the next ten years, I would shoot football pitches in Nigeria, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa. And though the focus always remained on the pitches—thus the title African Arenas, encompassing everything from sand lots to stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup—my initial concept quickly evolved. I quickly realized how important it would be to document the way the game was played on these pitches. I wanted to show the life on and around these makeshift “arenas”. The motivation for my change in perspective was simple: almost everywhere I went, the players never showed the slightest interest in what I was doing. A few children on a stretch of road in Zambia were playing with a ball stitched together from plastic bags. I got out of the car, and began to assemble my gear. I set up my Contax on the roof of the car and began to shoot. None of the kids cast even a glance at me, much less asked me what I was doing. It was clear that here football was all that mattered. And that, after all, is the way it is supposed to be.

You can create multiple entries, and pay for them at the same time.
Just go to your History, and select multiple entries that you would like to pay for.