Fi­nal scor­ers

Michael Don­ald trav­elled the world to pho­to­graph ev­ery liv­ing goalscorer in a FIFA World Cup ™ Fi­nal for his new book GOAL! Steve Fairclough spoke to him

Amateur Photographer - - 7days - Born in Belfast, North­ern Ire­land, Michael Don­ald is an award-win­ning com­mer­cial and celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher and film­maker. His work has fea­tured in pub­li­ca­tions such as the Sun­day Times, the Tele­graph, the Ob­server and the Guardian, and has been ex­hib­ited

Michael don­ald has pho­tographed all the liv­ing world Cup Fi­nal goal scor­ers for his lat­est book Goal!

Michael Don­ald is not scared of a big chal­lenge. His new book, GOAL!, was six years in the mak­ing, com­prised 34 dif­fer­ent shoots in 11 coun­tries, and has the ac­com­pa­ny­ing Em­mynom­i­nated ESPN doc­u­men­tary, ‘I Scored a Goal in the FIFA World Cup Fi­nal’, to boot. The idea was ac­tu­ally in Don­ald’s brain some 15 years ago and he re­veals, ‘I’ve al­ways wanted to tell sto­ries. When­ever I come up with an idea that I’m ex­cited about, it has no bear­ing on whether it has any fi­nan­cial out­come or not.’

It was while he was re­search­ing a project on foot­ball man­agers that the idea orig­i­nated. He ex­plains, ‘I worked out how few peo­ple had ever scored a goal in a World Cup Fi­nal and it blew my mind. I thought it would be an amaz­ing book and

tried to track them down – 34 were alive – but on my own it was just im­pos­si­ble. I didn’t re­ally have the clout to get the play­ers to fall in line, so it sat on the shelf for a while.’

Af­ter chat­ting the premise through with some film in­dus­try contacts, Don­ald pre­sented the idea to Academy Award-win­ning film­maker John Battsek (of Pas­sion Pic­tures Films), who, in Don­ald’s words, ‘ laughed out loud and told me to “go away and do one”.’ Un­de­terred, Don­ald went away and made a short film with Dick Nan­ninga – a Dutch foot­baller who scored in the 1978 World Cup Fi­nal – and soon af­ter­wards the sports broad­caster ESPN pro­vided the money to make a film, which Don­ald co-directed.

He ad­mits, ‘Once it was green-lit by ESPN, they wanted the whole thing done like that [im­me­di­ately]. When they gave us the money, we had about 40% of the play­ers signed up and we were sh***ing our­selves. They had given us this money to de­liver the en­tire thing and we didn’t have all the play­ers signed up, so it was nerve-wrack­ing.’

In 2009, with the play­ers fi­nally all on board, it was then a case of ar­rang­ing shoots around the world, which had to in­clude both filmed in­ter­views and por­trait ses­sions for stills. Don­ald re­veals, ‘I shot the whole thing on a Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P45 and P65+ backs, but you had to crank it. Peo­ple won­dered why you were do­ing that if it was dig­i­tal, be­cause that usu­ally winds on the film, but it also cocks the shut­ter. When some­body takes your pho­to­graph with a Has­sel­blad you know you’re hav­ing your pho­to­graph taken and it slightly changes the at­mos­phere in the room which, to me, re­ally makes a dif­fer­ence.’

He con­tin­ues, ‘I just used bat­tery lights ini­tially – the big, heavy bat­tery packs – but they just weren’t prac­ti­cal to fly around with, so we used lit­tle Quan­tum ones. You couldn’t light a room with them but you could use them for por­traits – we just used a cou­ple of heads.’

Don­ald shot with some Has­sel­blad V Sys­tem lenses and ad­mits, ‘I never use what peo­ple de­scribe as “por­trait lenses”; never have done. So, it would tend to have been an 80mm, which trans­lates to a 50mm [lens in 35mm for­mat], and a 45mm, which I think is about 28mm, for the wider con­text shots.’

He adds, ‘ The one thing I was very con­scious of the whole time was to make sure, be­cause

‘None of them had any swag­ger – they all thought they were blessed and lucky’

I al­ways had the book in the back of my mind, that we had the op­tions for both tight and wide shots. Pho­to­graph­i­cally, I wanted it to have a very con­sis­tent feel. I think the book works, but, for me, in an ideal world they would all have been ei­ther tight por­traits or por­traits with the con­text; like Car­los Alberto in the Mara­canã or Ge­off Hurst in the room he stayed in Hen­don Hall the night be­fore the 1966 World Cup Fi­nal. But some of them gave us a day and some of them only gave us 20 min­utes. So, in some in­stances, you just get what you can.’

Sto­ries from the shoots

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the shoots had more than their fair share of be­hind-thescenes sto­ries. For ex­am­ple, dur­ing a shoot with Brazil’s Jairz­inho in Rio’s Man­guin­hos favela, known lo­cally as the ‘Gaza Strip’, un­be­knownst to Don­ald a lo­cal hood had pulled a gun on his Brazil­ian pro­ducer.

A more heart­warm­ing story from Brazil came cour­tesy of the late Car­los Alberto. Don­ald re­veals, ‘When­ever you see those end­less pan­theons of the great­est goal ever scored in a World Cup Fi­nal num­ber one is al­ways Car­los Alberto’s. When we gave him his money at the end of the shoot, he didn’t know why we were giv­ing him money. He wasn’t ex­pect­ing any and didn’t want any. At the end of the shoot our truck was at the other side of the [Mara­canã] sta­dium and his mate had come down to the sta­dium to give him a lift home in a white van. So the crew, Car­los Alberto and his mate got in the van and he drove us round the sta­dium to our car. [If there was] a more self-dep­re­cat­ing hu­man be­ing… I just don’t know.’

Sim­i­lar fas­ci­nat­ing tales pep­per GOAL! and, de­spite their sport­ing achieve­ments, Don­ald notes, ‘With all of them, none of them had any swag­ger – they all thought they were blessed to have found them­selves in a po­si­tion in front of goal and were just lucky to have been able to de­liver.’

The shoots were all fin­ished in 2015 and by then in­cluded Mario Götze of Ger­many, who scored the only goal in the 2014 World Cup Fi­nal. Don­ald did the book’s pic­ture edit with Steve Macleod, cre­ative direc­tor of the pro lab Metro Imag­ing, which also prints for the likes of Mario Testino, David Bai­ley and Terry O’Neill.

Don­ald ex­plains, ‘Ini­tially all the post was done in Phase One and then in Pho­to­shop. The only rea­son I did that was I think Phase One is amaz­ing but his­tor­i­cally Pho­to­shop is my lan­guage. I learnt how to do Pho­to­shop sit­ting over the shoul­der of peo­ple who do it for me and ask­ing a mil­lion stupid ques­tions. It’s a means to an end – I de­rive no plea­sure from it what­so­ever and I treat it as a dig­i­tal dark­room.’

FIFA in­volve­ment

GOAL! is now FIFA’s of­fi­cial book for the 2018 World Cup, as Don­ald ex­plains, ‘When­ever they do the draw on 1 De­cem­ber [2017] in Mos­cow for the World Cup, they’re go­ing to give ev­ery del­e­gate a copy of the book. FIFA are right be­hind it be­cause this book is ev­ery­thing that’s good about the World Cup. It’s about the le­gacy, the her­itage and the magic of the World Cup.’

He con­cludes, ‘ To my mind, it’s not a pho­tog­ra­phy book – it’s a sports book with some bril­liant pho­to­graphs in it. It’s not a foot­ball book; it’s a book about peo­ple that have done some­thing amaz­ing. We think, “Oh my God, th­ese peo­ple are fab­u­lous and they live in this ‘golden world”, but they’re sort of nor­mal peo­ple who hap­pen to be very, very good at a cer­tain sport and they find them­selves in this mo­ment that has changed their lives beyond recog­ni­tion. To have some tiny in­sight into that is amaz­ing.’

Above: Eng­land’s Sir Ge­off Hurst pic­tured in the room in Hen­don Hall where he slept the night be­fore the fa­mous 1966 World Cup Fi­nal Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

Above: Bonin­segna was a late call-up but scored in the de­feat against Brazil in 1970 Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 400

Be­low: Zito scored for Brazil in the 3-1 win in the 1962 fi­nal against Cze­choslo­vakia Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 200

Above: Don­ald also shot in black & white, as with this im­age of the leg­endary Pelé who scored a to­tal of three goals for Brazil dur­ing the 1958 and 1970 World Cup Fi­nal wins Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 200

Be­low: Al­cides Ghig­gia scored the win­ning goal in Uruguay’s 2-1 win over Brazil in 1950 Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

Above: Jairz­inho scored Brazil’s third goal in the 4-1 win over Italy in 1970 Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 200

Above: West Ger­many’s Wolfgang Weber scored a late equaliser to force the 1966 fi­nal against Eng­land into ex­tra time Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 400

Above: Em­manuel Petit scored the third goal for France in the 3-0 win over Brazil in 1998 Has­sel­blad 503 with Phase One P65+ back, 80mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 400

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