"This image was captured in the Keyalitsha Township in the Cape Flats. I travelled out there with my guide and we were greeted with nothing but smiles and a warm welcome," says photographer Dan Kitwood. Image © Dan Kitwood / Getty Images.
Dan Kitwood is one of the dozens of photographers that Getty Images sent to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But Kitwood isn't necessarily assigned to the pitchside. Instead, Kitwood has been going around South Africa, photographing the country's love of football. He answers BJP's news editor questions.
BJP: When did you arrive in South Africa?
Dan Kitwood: I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on 5th June, a few days ahead of the opening ceremony in Johannesburg and the beginning of the FIFA World Cup. This gave me chance to find my feet, prepare for the start of the tournament and make my way up to Johannesburg for the opening ceremony.
BJP: What kind of images are you looking for? Are you working with a series in mind or looking for moments? What’s your workflow?
Dan Kitwood: I was mainly there to cover the news as it unfolded, as well as the colour and spectacle of the event, the country and the people. I wanted it to be a fairly organic process so although I left homewith lots of ideas in mind, I was prepared for my focus to shift as my understanding of the realities on the ground became apparent.
BJP: What is the atmosphere in the places you visit?
Dan Kitwood: The atmosphere was one of joy, excitement and pride at being given the opportunity to host the World Cup. Even when the mighty Bafana Bafana were knocked out of the competition, everyone carried on partying and blowing their vuvuzelas. The real place to witness this was in the Townships, where large screens had been erected in special fan parks across the country.
BJP: There was a lot of talk about security matters in the run-up to the event. Have you encountered any difficulties? What is your attitude when you’re shooting? Have the authorities been helpful or do you try to stay clear of official channels? How do you choose the locations you’re reporting from?
Dan Kitwood: Much had been made of the possible dangers involved in visiting South Africa and therefore the safety of all our colleagues was the number one priority. Trouble is very easy to find if you are not careful, butwith forward planning, care and respect it is also very easy to avoid. The dangers in South Africa are very real, but entirely manageable. I had absolutely no problems at all, and as far as I know there haven’t been any major incidents involving fans either. I think the media may have played some part in this. It’s very easy to say that there was too much negative reporting and scare-mongering of ahead of the tournament, but I think that this may also have played a big part in the success of the event – it was because of this that fans were very prepared. I didn’t have many experienceswith officials or the police, but when I did I found them both engaging and helpful, which was also the overriding sense I got from speaking to people who had.
BJP: How do you portray the spirit of football outside of the stadiums?
Dan Kitwood: This was difficult at times, as for many in South Africa life continued as normal during the tournament. There was also the problem of geography, with fans spread out across a huge country. However, in the fan parks and Townships there was a great atmosphere and genuine excitement about South Africa hosting the World Cup and it was during visits to these areas that I was able to capture some of these moments.
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