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Hans van der Meer
European Fields
SC, 38,5 x 28 cm., 190 pp.
SteidlMack 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. His European odyssey has since taken him from small towns in the remote regions of Europe ? from Bihariain in Romania to Björkö in Sweden, from Torp in Norway to Alcsóörs 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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