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In Lille, a panoply of sport in pictures – SPORTFOTO • lille3000


The city celebrates sport through photography. OG specialists, football enthusiasts or cycling enthusiasts … all have appointments in various cultural venues. 

Their faces are upright, their eyes are up, and they look at you imperiously. Children photographed by Pauce posing in their football uniforms. The photographer portrayed clubs in the region. He had each child pose individually and then mounted the image to make it appear that they were all together in a strange, solemn and frozen group photo.This is what  welcomes visitors to the Lille Tripostal, which offers an exhibition space dedicated to the round ball. You will find photographs of the Lille club, from the 1950s to the present day, shots of Harald Hauswald, who photographed Berlin supporters of the GDR at the end of the 1980s or the story of France’s victory at the 2018 World Cup thanks to the eyes of AFP photographers. As such, the exhibition offers a moving tribute by showing, for the first time, the photographs of Stéphane Meunier, author of the famous documentary Les yeux dans les bleus, which then followed the 1998 champions’ course. His photographs bear witness to the passion as much as fraternity that then crossed the players of the French team. “I think this fraternity is the condition for winning,” says the photographer who said he wanted to make “family photographs” in a certain “intimacy”. The result is images full of transport where Bixente Lizarazu, bare-chested, chat with Jacques Chirac or Trezeguet and Thierry Henry laughing together in a bus.

In the beers steam 

Football flooding the whole society. In England, Ken Grant photographed the supporters of his hometown, Liverpool. Little games on a street corner, binge drinking in a pub, hooligans confronting the police … authentic and striking pictures that this photographer managed to produce by saying how much the sport counted for him .

An authenticity that continues at the Hospice Comtesse where are presented boxing pictures and combating sports. Samuel Lebon and Elodie Valentin followed Licia Boudersa, European champion of boxing, who had to face the machismo very present in this men’s world and managed to reach this high level of the competition. Laurent Gudin has been photographing boxers for fourteen years. He photographs damaged faces, chiseled hands and sweat overflowing from tired bodies. At the back of the room, a space is dedicated to Mohamed Ali. Impressive photographs show the rage to conquer of this foolproof sportsman who lets out a roaring cry of victory, arms raised in the air with his blood-red gloves, when Leon Gast’s documentary, When we were king, is projected next to it, testifying to the intelligence of this man who said: “we must fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.

Instant T

At Saint Sauveur Station, cycling is in the spotlight. Xavier Lambours reveals bicycle racing in the North of France. In particular, we see people from small villages waiting on the roadside for the passing of these bicycles that run at full speed or the exhaustion of mud-ridden runners in their colored outfits. Next door, Jef Geys photographed the 1969 Tour de France which saw the victory of Eddy Mercxx. In parallel are shown photographs of the Olympics. David Burnett has captured the contortions of athletes from the London, Sochi, Rio and Pyeongchang Olympics as well as Bob Martin to whom the city has dedicated a tribute by choosing, the best shots of his career. The British photographer manages to fix the moment T of exceptional sports situations such as the dive of swimmers on the same line or the furious descent of a skier who leaves behind a trail similar to the smoke of a fire.


Funny and amazing are the photographs of the 1924 Olympics held in Paris. In particular, there is a portrait of the French football team of the time which contrasts sharply with the players of today and gives a look definitely old school to this sport.

A sport that could not exist without the presence of a key yet discreet character: the referee. This is the subject studied by Simone Perolari, who has portrayed it in disciplines as varied as field hockey or weightlifting. Each time, it shows the indispensable accessory. For archery, for example, a plastic disc is necessary to measure the shooting, for the petanque, a bag with various tools or for boxing a pair of rubber gloves because of the blood of the athletes. The palm may come to judo that requires special socks. “It’s a whole world” says Simone Perolari adding: “finally we know very little about the referees. This surprised me when I started working on this subject. For football, the referee walks with plenty of accessories in his pockets. Ten or twelve. he is Robocop.


Jean-Baptiste Gauvin


SPORTFOTO • lille3000

6 septembre – 4 novembre 2018

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