Football, Photography

An Appreciation of Stuart MacFarlane

The official Arsenal website says Stuart MacFarlane joined the staff at 2000 and is the Senior Club Photographer. They also say he’s an Arsenal fan, but you’d know that simply by the pictures he takes. As an amateur photographer (and Gunner fan!!), MacFarlane’s photos are a breath of fresh air, feel absolutely personal and often brings a smile to my face. Never has the term “I’m living vicariously through you,” been so apt.

 

I remember this game so well. It was a perfect Saturday morning. And my birthday. Arsenal was having an infamously horrendous season start. The kind of start that featured an 8-2 loss to MUFC. The kind of start where Arsenal was mid-table. But then came that glorious late October day. The captain’s hat trick, and Santos and Theo. I absolutely love this picture. I was unabashedly celebrating for a week after. Happy Birthdays don’t get much better.

 

Look! They clean up well too! Thanks, Stuart! I love how the ever-serious Belgian can hardly contain himself here. Alex’s smiley disposition must be contagious. And what is Jack doing?

 

This is just one of Stuart’s many excellent portraits. He plays on Vermaelen’s usual straight secret-agent face so well by sharpening up the left of the image, and softening up the right. Brilliant post-editting. Now you have to wonder, which is he?

 

A serene composition of Clock End, before the Milan match. Definitely, one of the best matches of last season.

Jens Lehmann is one of my top 3 favourite Gunners (the others being Henry and Bergkamp, in no particular order at all). Arsenal goalkeepers are supposed to have “personality.” Jens happens to have a double dose of personality and Szczesny’s been taking notes.

There’s something about Tomáš… It’s probably the feeling I had the first time I saw him playing in World Cup 2006 in a Czech team that was doing wonders because they played as a unit. I was mesmerized by his movement and football intelligence, and forever impressed.

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Just a couple guys who used to kick ball at the club…

Untitled1A beautiful profile of a man you can tell must be a joy to know. As always, MacFarlane’s portraits are well-executed and speak volumes.

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M. Wenger has recently lamented the loss of several high-profile players over the last couple seasons, but I’ll never forget when Defensive Midfielder extraordinaire Gilberto left. The season was a complete soap-opera; nobody knew who was going to be captain when Titi left and after a forever of  “will he, won’t he?”, he left. For Panathinaikos. (Yes, you’ve recently seen a remake of this movie, with a Dutch lead and a Scottish supporting actor.)

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. There were mics in 2001 and there are mics in 2012. Regardless of what’s happening now, in many ways he is Arsenal.

I haven’t watched football or Arsenal play in a while. This is a side-effect of 9 am French classes that last for four hours on Saturday mornings. Given Arsenal’s current form, I’m doing myself a favour by not watching for now. But, a perfect picture can bring back memories and fond reminders of one of the clubs that made me love the game in the first place.

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