I shoot on the ground a lot of the time. Crouching down. Laying down. I like low angles. Today one of the soccer players I was shooting in Houston looked down at me and said, “Heh, you might want to be careful where you put your head.” I look over and I was inches from a mound of red ants.
These kids are all refugees from the Congo - many of them grew up in the camps living ten lifetimes of hardship then miraculously landing in Houston just in time for Hurricane Harvey.
A retired soccer coach met these kids and saw the raw talent - even though they had never played on a coached team before. He organized the team which started out scrappy, losing all their games - then they figured out how to win and never looked back. They jumped right to division one.
The incredible thing about these kids is despite all the hardship they have been through, they have a life force stronger than anyone I have ever met. They jump higher, move faster - their feet are almost a blur dribbling the soccer ball. So many of the pictures feel like they are more about choreography than sports. The way they relate to each other physically...they way they defy gravity...the way they work as a team is a vision of beauty.
What made the trip to Houston so special - is you have these kids with nothing - no place to stay, most didn’t have two shoes that matched… Dick’s met their success as a team by giving them new uniforms, new shoes, lockers of their own and some money to support their efforts. My job was to tap into what made them so special. That had to be the easiest assignment I have ever done. From playing on the beach out past the refineries - to the hot colors in their community room - to the edge of the field I was blown away. I shoot with short lenses so I can physically touch my subjects. I crawl into the middle of their dances and shoot straight up.