21 October – 28 November 2009
Extended until 2 December 2009
At the beginning of the 1995 football season, Hans van der Meer set out to take a series of football photographs that avoided the clichéd traditions of modern sports photography. In an attempt to record the game in its original form — a field, two goals and 22 players — he sought matches at the bottom end of the amateur leagues, the opposite end of the scale to the Champions' League. Van der Meer avoided the enclosed environment of the stadium and tight telescopic details and hyperbole of action photography, preferring neutral lighting, framing and camera angles, he chose instead to pull back from the central subject of the pitch, locating the playing field and its unfolding action within a specific landscape and context.
Van der Meer’s Journey having started in his home country of the Netherlands and has since taken him to small towns and remote regions across much of Europe, including Greece, Finland, England, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, Hungary, Holland, Slovakia, Denmark, Ireland, Wales, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Spain and Italy. His acute and subtle observations of the poetry and absurdity and cameraderie of human behaviour connects the game of football to the fundamental human condition. The small tragicomedies are dwarfed by the serenity and permanence of the natural or man-made world that surrounds them but in their pathos can be found the original passion and humanity of the beautiful game.
European Fields is Published by Steidl
About the photographer
Hans van der Meer was born in Leimuiden in the Netherlands in 1955. He has published numerous books of his own photographs and of archival images. His work is included in major international collections and he has had solo exhibitions in venues such as the National Museum for Photography, Film and Television in the UK, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Centro Portugûes de Fotografía , Porto, National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. He is a founder member and contributing editor to the cult magazine Useful Photography.