Photographing Future World Cup Athletes

June 8, 2010 | By Ezra Shaw | Sport


This is me, getting to work. Picture taken by Streeter Lecka.

The Getty Images photography crew started arriving in South Africa last week for the biggest sporting event in the world, the 2010 Fifa World Cup.  All of the 39 Getty Images photographers from all over the globe have finally touched down in Africa with a variety of assignments waiting for them ranging from following one particular team to working directly for FIFA as official photographers to shooting editorial coverage for all of our clients.

This is my first trip to Africa and more importantly, my first World Cup. It took me three flights and over 25 hours in the air (not to mention long layovers in both New York and London) to reach Johannesburg from my home in San Francisco.

After two days of getting settled and spending way too much time at the local shopping center, I finally got my cameras out yesterday and I was ready to find some local kids playing soccer in Soweto with three other Getty Images photographers, Richard Heathcote, Cameron Spencer and Streeter Lecka. It was Richard’s idea to head to Soweto and due to safety concerns in Johannesburg, and especially places like Soweto, we are required to travel in groups.

After we heard Richard wanted to head to Soweto, Cameron and I agreed to go with him, but Streeter was still a little hesitant about heading out to what is known as a dangerous neighborhood. However, we were able to talk him in to coming with us, and after he ran back to his room to get his kit, and a bottle of water and a pack of peanut butter crackers (for survival if needed according to Streeter) we all packed in to the car and headed across the city.

Soweto is definitely a bit different from the high rise apartments where we are staying in the affluent neighborhood of Sandton. Most of the homes that bordered the streets were small brick buildings that had seen better days. However, when we finally arrived at a field with children playing soccer under a set of power lines, we were met by nothing by smiles by the local kids.


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 07: A local child plays football on dirt pitches in a Soweto township on June 7, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa on 11th June. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


My fellow Getty Images photographers from left to right:  Richard Heathcote, Cameron Spencer and  Streeter Lecka.

The four of us quickly grabbed our cameras and started shooting away. The sun was quickly setting and the light was great. We all tried to get different shots of the kids playing – some worked wide angle shots, while others tried to shoot the back-lit dust rising up from the dirt covered field.


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 07: Local children play football on dirt pitches in a Soweto township on June 7, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa on 11th June. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 07: Local children play football on dirt pitches in a Soweto township on June 7, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa on 11th June. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After the sun fell behind the hill in the distance we decided it was time to get home. All of us were happy with the pictures we have taken and Streeter was even happier that he didn’t end up needing the peanut butter crackers that he had packed.

To see more of the images captured this day, please click here.

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  • http://www.squidoo.com/2010-worldcup-south-africa Ji-Sung

    Solid post. Completely unrelated but interesting fact, did you know that out of the 19 World Cups so far, 6 have been won by the host country. Doesn’t look too good for South Africa this year though.

  • Kate West

    Your photos are truly, truly beautiful.