Between 2001 and 2007 I was privileged to photograph Italian football at close hand. From the touchline I was able to witness the spectacular and wildly enthusiastic crowds and the skills of great players and teams.
My aim was to capture the atmosphere of Italian football and to make a historical record of the game during that period. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to take photographs at the likes of the San Siro in Milan or the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and photograph world class players such as Totti, Baggio and Nedved.
Visits to these stadiums and seeing these players may have been the highlights of the project but I wanted to show more than the big guns of Serie A, so I also photographed lower division football, kids kicking a ball around in the street and anything else I thought expressed the game in Italy. A selection of over 140 have published as a book Calcissimo – The Spectacle of Italian Football.
Either San Siro in Milan or Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Spectacular stadiums filled with spectacular fans.
Chievo 3-2 Milan, October 26, 2002 – Two teams playing fluent end to end football. Breathtaking. Add floodlights and a vociferous capacity crowd it was the perfect advert for Italian football.
Francesco Totti scoring hat-trick for Roma at Brescia. Two brilliant goals and a penalty was just the end result of an inspired performance.
Pavel Nedved. Hugely influential every time I saw him play. Covered the whole pitch as though it were a five a side game but always composed on the ball and perceptive in his passing.
Inter at San Siro when playing Lazio. At the time Inter were struggling to keep up with Juventus, Milan and Roma who had all won lo Scudetto in recent seasons. The desperation to win raised the decibels a notch or two.
The Stadio Filadelfia is the Forum of football with just ruins remaining of where the great Turin team of the 1950s played. The stadium is full of the ghost of that side that perished in the air crash at Superga in 1948.
Magical and surreal moment:
A night match at Venice. Within minutes of leaving a raucous stadium passing San Marks and the Doges Palace on the Grand Canal by vaporetta
CALCISSIMO – The Spectacle of Italian Football is available for just £10, inc p&p, from www.tprphotography.com