Football: Snapper Keeping Football in Frame; Photographer STUART CLARKE'S Images of Football Have Been Admired in Books and Exhibitions. PAUL BERRY Now Turns the Focus on the Soccer-Mad Snapper
Byline: PAUL BERRY
EVER wished that time could be frozen to allow you to capture that special moment?
That a particular scene from a football match could be bottled, sold, and than enjoyed time and time again - maybe a spectacular goal, piece of flamboyant skill, or flying save.
Or among the crowd, a celebration, face or a flash of unforgettable football humour. To some extent, that's the sort of challenge faced by photographer Stuart Clarke every time he takes his camera out.
Clarke's brief is not necessarily that of a common-or-garden snapper despatched to football grounds up and down the country to cover the nitty-gritty of the thousands of games which fill the calendar week-in, week-out.
Instead, he aims to capture the whole essence of a football match, a pictorial record not just of the goals, shots and nearmisses but the joy, the tears and the emotions inseparable from following our national heritage. Many of the results of Clarke's work can be viewed at his 'Homes of Football museum' in Ambleside in the Lake District, or on the website at www.homesoffootball.co.uk.
And now his second book - Football in our Time - has hit the shelves offering a glorious journey through the football hinterlands. It's all a far cry from the early days as Clarke, born and bred in Berkhamsted, took up the art some 15 years ago.
'I started off by just drawing my High Street in town before I realised it was much easier to take photos,' he recalls.
'So I took up photography at school and then art college and took pictures of many things, from football to music.
'It all crystallized in 1989 with the Hillsborough disaster.
'I knew a few people there and it was such a sad and poignant occasion. It was a tragedy which seemed to feel so personal to so many people even though they weren't directly involved.
'Out of that, and the fact that football had been taken a pounding on the back of the Bradford fire and Heysel disaster, I just thought that some of the other things, like the humour and the soul, were being forgotten.
'That's what started everything off and I just hope I have done my bit and provided photographs as a lasting picture of the change the game has gone through. …