Ouch… “Here, we are about impact and surprise, the gesture is not very technical”

Electric atmosphere, rain, combat in the air, joy of the supporters… RC Lens trembled but assured its qualification on Tuesday for the play-offs for the round of 16 of the Europa League, by beating Sevilla at home 2-1, during his last Champions League meeting at the Bollaert stadium. A wonderful evening of football which attracted sports photographers as close as possible to the pitch in order to capture the emotions, the facts of the game and the unusual moments. Through the making of the photo of the Lensois defender Jonathan Gradit receiving the ball in the face, the photographerAssociated Press distributed by Sipa PressThibaut Camus, looks back on his job on the edge of the football fields.

What do we see in the image?

“It’s upon receiving a clearance from the Sevilla goalkeeper. The Lens player was fighting with a Sevillian to get the ball with his head, specifies 20 minutes Thibault Camus. Following a shove, he miscalculates the trajectory of the ball and receives it in the face. » The photographer explains that situations with balls in the air are always interesting in football because “there are more original things happening and a little less controlled” than during simple races. “Here, we are in the moment of impact and surprise because he is not supposed to do that… it is not a very technical gesture (laugh). » While specifying that even if the player was a little surprised, he was able to resume the match without worry.

What is the shooting context?

“It’s at the Bollaert stadium, in Lens, where there are four fairly vertical stands. We can feel the vibrations of the supporters, their chants, they jump a lot, it’s really a slightly electric and quite friendly atmosphere, says the photographer. I stand at the edge of the field and face the attack of the team I want to cover. » In the first half, he explains to us that he sided with the attackers of the Racing club of Lens. Seeing the domination of the Sevilla FC players, he decided to stay in the same position in the second half because he thought they had a better chance of scoring and winning. “What we are looking for is the possibility of having a goal and the celebration of the players because these are the images most used to summarize a match. »

Associated Press can send up to six photographers to cover very big matches but Thibaut Camus was alone in Lens. “We mainly have clients who are not French so for this one we only sent one photographer,” he explains. Concerning the position on the ground, it is up to the photographer to make choices. He gives us an example: “If I photograph a Paris Saint-Germain match, I will choose to cover the PSG attack twice because it is the biggest French team, a big European team, and there to Mbappé… A reaction from Kylian Mbappé, it’s always a seller. » Technically, it is equipped here with a 400mm telephoto lens and uses a fast shutter speed. “What is important is the autofocus setting [la mise au point automatique] so that the point is always made on the player who has the ball. It goes very quickly and there are sometimes several players in the frame. In this image, if I have the point on the Seville player behind, or the referee in front, it does not exist. »

The extra anecdote

The photographer remembers another European match, Toulouse – Liverpool (3-2), on November 9, 2023 in the Europa League. “I was alone, without an editor, like when I started, sitting on the sidelines with the computer. At the end of the match, there is a goal for Liverpool which is checked by VAR [arbitrage vidéo]. The goal is not awarded and I photograph a little from the start the reaction of two Toulouse players. And the next day the photo made the front page of the newspaper The Team ! This kind of thing, when you are alone at the edge of the field, a bit old-fashioned, is what the photographer likes. »

In sports photography, Thibault Camus recognizes that anticipation makes the difference. “That’s what makes good photos, being technically ready without having your eye glued to your viewfinder, with the idea of ​​looking at the game overall. We anticipate the headbutts, the confrontations between the players. » By also emphasizing knowledge of the game and the team that we are photographing. “In football, I mainly cover PSG, so I am used to their phases of play. I realized this yesterday [mardi] because I was a little lost at times. Player positions change depending on the team. The automatisms that I have when doing the PSG are perhaps not the same as the photographers who often follow the RC Lens. »

source site