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AT THE OPENING OF THE WORLD CUP, NOT EVERYTHING IS FOOTBALL

Updated: Jun 10, 2022



In 2014 I covered the World Cup for Época magazine. Anyone who has covered a World Cup for the newspaper (as I did in 2010, for Folha de S. Paulo) knows that it is an insane job, especially if the photographer has the mission of "gluing" to the Brazilian team. There are 24 hours of coverage: training sessions , press conferences, hotel shifts, behavioral guidelines, exclusive interviews, in short. I remember that one of my “happiest” days covering the South African Cup was when I photographed the plane taking the team away after the elimination against Holland . It's sad, but it's the pure truth. I couldn't stand that routine anymore.

Well, I made this whole introduction to say that compared to Folha's coverage of the 2010 World Cup, working for a magazine, in this case Época magazine, in the 2014 World Cup, was a “dream”. As the magazine is weekly, my deadlines and deadlines were super easy. No rush. Apart from that I could still invest in rehearsals, suggest guidelines and basically worry about photographing.


My first game in the Cup was the opening match between Brazil x Croatia, on a Thursday, at Arena Corinthians. The closing of the magazine would be on Friday, so there was a “small rush” to deliver the material quickly, so I remember that I worked “wired”: a network cable was connected to my camera and the material was uploaded to the magazine shortly after. I have photographed. All I had to do was select the best images in the camera and release them for submission.


For this game I received some briefings from André Sarmento, editor of the magazine (I already knew André because we had worked together at Folha, so our understanding was very easy during the World Cup). In addition to sending the material as soon as possible, he asked me to pay attention to the tribunes of honor, as leaders from countries around the world would be present. It was a tense environment and much was said before the World Cup on the issue of security, mainly because an event of this magnitude had not been held in Latin America for many years.


It turns out that the best moment to photograph the rostrum from the field, from where I was, was when the characters were standing, because of the angle. When they were seated the photo would not look good. And what time would they be sure to be on their feet? During the performance of the national anthems. I immediately thought that this would be a problem, as the anthem moment would also be the ideal occasion to photograph the players singing, the coaches up close, etc.


Anyway, I went to the side of the field and positioned myself next to the battalion of photographers (we were 250 that day).


Arriving there, I started to put into practice something that I always do in these great competitions: thinking that I was privileged to be in that place, that it was the dream of every sports photographer in the world to photograph a Cup (I was already going to my second World Cup) and that since I had this privilege, I couldn't waste this moment and “make more of the same”. At this point, it's worth the exercise to look where no one is looking. It's almost always worth it.


Contextualizing a little, in that period the country was (and still is) very divided politically. It was the last year of President Dilma Rousseff and political campaigns were in full swing. So it was very likely that this tension would be reflected in the stadium and especially because Dilma would make a statement before the match, declaring the World Cup open.


Said and done: the president took a resounding boo during her speech. I remember taking some pictures of her speech and I turned my eyes to the field, where the two teams were already entering for the whole protocol of the beginning of the match.


Once the hymns started playing, I made some clicks of the athletes and remembered the “look where no one is looking”. That's when I turned the 400mm again for the stands. And this scene below took place. I remember that it wasn't very fast: Dilma spent some time making this gesture. And also for a while he kept looking in my direction. I don't know if she thought it was funny that I was pointing the camera at her while most of the photographers were looking at the countryside or if I just got lucky.


I really like this photo because, after a while, reviewing this image, I believe it got even better, since that year Dilma was reelected in a fierce dispute with Aécio Neves and a few months later the Coup (or Impeachment, call it whatever you want) took place. ) which had great participation of Michel Temer (below in the photo), its vice president.

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