Monday, June 4, 2012

GAA in Munich

As I turn my thoughts towards my next course, most likely Social Documentary, I need to start engaging with the community around me and build some relationships that might develop into opportunities for prolonged projects.  One group is the Munich Gaelic Sports Club, the "Munich Colmcilles".  My long time friend and neighbour is a leading figure in the club and has invited me on a couple of occasions to photograph tournaments, a great chance to experiment with Sports photography, not something I do very often.

Recently an opportunity came up to promote the club and participate in a global GAA activity.  The brief was to take a photograph that juxtaposed the Gaelic players against the city they lived in.  A first glance this sounded quite easy, but it was not so.  The first challenge was getting enough people to show up and spend 2 hours on a hot Sunday afternoon being prodded into position in front of Munich's landmarks.  The second was, what landmarks?  Munich is a very attractive and historical city, but it has few significant landmarks that shout Munich.  The stadiums at the Olympic Park or the new football arena were possibles, but too far out of town and isolated. Having selected a few possible landmarks the further issue was to photograph the players in such a way that they were not too prominent, but equally not invisible at the bottom of the frame.

 The initial plan was to pose people in small groups in front of major landmarks.  The first is the town hall, nice photo, but not very informative

Another idea was to use the blue and white flag of Bavaria and the Lowenbrau brewery to contrast with the blue and white of the team uniform.  This one is better, but might create issues with the GAA as they are trying to downplay advertising of alcohol at games

This one is possibly even worse, but then again the Hofbrauhaus is the most famous Munich landmark.  The problem is that it is not terribly photogenic.

An alternate strategy was to have the guys actually do something with a ball.  The first of these is primarily interesting due to the tourist standing in the background, she must have been puzzled. 

This is the best of those we took, the two guys jumping for the ball frame the 3rd in the background and the ball is clearly visible in the sky.  It could be improved, the ball is too high in the hot, but given limited time and a group of people desperate to get to the beer garden this was not bad.

When we finally got to the beer garden we took the obligatory shot of the team in front of the Chinese Tower, the band stand for the beer garden.  

Was a fun day and nice to have couple of Mass glasses (1 litre) of beer afterwards.  I think with more planning and better direction of the people involved we could have done better.  I only found out an hour in advance that we were going to do this.  

Longer term it was good to support the club and Niall in particular.  They are a fun group and in need of promotion which I can support through photography.  In return I hope to be able to do some more candid work to document the people involved and how an Irish sport is finding recruits amongst the German population.  I have no expectations from this, it is simply good to support the club and get involved.

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