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European Fields: The Landscape of Lower League Football Paperback – 24 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl (24 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3865212387
  • ISBN-13: 978-3865212382
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.5 x 29.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,293,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


At the beginning of the 1995 football season, Hans van der Meer set out to take a series of football photographs that avoided the cliched 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. And he 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. In 1988 he had curated a book, Interland, containing archival images of the Dutch national team between 1911 and 1955. He was heavily influenced by the old tradition of photography in which a wide view of the action often resulted in elements of the locality being present in the image. With the addition of graphic lines, these images were then used in newspapers to illustrate the movement of the ball to the goal.

Van der Meer has applied his democratic viewpoint across the playing fields of Europe over the past decade, having travelled to every country with a significant history of the game. He began by focusing on sites within the Netherlands and in 1998 he published "Dutch Fields", followed by a DVD, "Flemish Fields", in 2000. His European odyssey has since taken him from small towns in the remote regions of Europe - from Bihariain in Romania to Bjorko in Sweden, from Torp in Norway to Alcsoors in Hungary, from Bartkowo in Poland to Beire in Portugal - and to the fringes of the major conurbations of Greece, Finland, England, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, Holland, Slovakia, Denmark, Ireland, Wales, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain and Italy. These acute and subtle observations of the poetry and absurdity of human behaviour connect the game of football to the basic futility of the 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 game.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Every football fan should buy this book. These wonderful pictures, some of them in my native country (Portugal) show what football is all about: passion, sweat, glory, even when there are only 10 or 20 persons watching the game. The author is also brilliant in relating small town landscape with football and its origins. I saw some pictures that remembered the first soccer games I saw in 60's Portugal. A must for football fans.
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By A. Schroeder on 5 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I got this book from a friend as a present and loved it so much that I gave it to two friends who are playing non-League football. I find the detail in the pictures really interesting on many different levels and think it is an inspirational book which conveys the beauty of bringing people together through football. Highly recommended.
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By A. Betts VINE VOICE on 23 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is so much more than a football book, yet for every fan who has ever enjoyed a game of football out of the top flight, then this is a must. this is a travel book, a photography book, a football book and I enjoyed every page. Quality football photography in these days of bland Premiership portraits.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful 30 Nov. 2009
By Douglas Ljungkvist - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book and a new favorite of mine. I'm interested in sports as part of our cultural landscape and growing up in Sweden this book is right up my alley. The images are so well composed and really shows the soccer fields and game action as foreground objects and how it fits into the environmental landscape.

The variety of landscapes, playing surfaces, time of year, light and mood is impressive while remaining consistent. If you appreciate really good landscape photography, and perhaps not soccer per se, I think you will still enjoy this book. I appreciate the photographers investment in time and to his vision as he could have easily and much faster photographed this project when the soccer fields were empty. Focusing on the lower division venues where players are non-professional is also so much more interesting in this era of sports stardom and reality/celebrity culture.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Space - the final frontier 4 Jun. 2014
By Plato - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The review`s in the headline really. For me at least, this book gives the lie to the famous Cartier-Bresson comment about the `decisive moment.` I know what H.C's getting at - it's very zen - because reality does ebb and flow, and as with the wind, meaning to can seem to come and go. Still, I would have thought that every moment is decisive to a meaning-sensitive observer. I don't mean that as harshly as it sounds.
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