Homeless World Cup – event photography

What is the Homeless World Cup? The Homeless World Cup is an annual football tournament organized by the Homeless World Cup Foundation, a social organization which advocates the end of homelessness through the sport of association football (or soccer). The organization puts together an annual football tournament, each year in a different place/city where teams of homeless people from each country compete, by playing 3 a-side.
You can find more information here on Wikipedia or on the official Homeless World Cup website

I have joined Homeless World Cup volunteers team back in 2015 and so far I have covered that amazing event 4 times:

HWC Amsterdam 2015
HWC Glasgow 2016
HWC Oslo 2017
HWC Mexico City 2018

… and another one is coming up! Homeless World Cup Cardiff 2019

It’s INCREDIBLE! The Homeless World Cup gives me an opportunity to work with a bunch of amazing people. Teamwork it’s called. We have writers, videographers, other photographers, medics, referees and others I could mention and we all do it as volunteers.
Because the event takes place in a different place each year it means I have chance to travel, discover new cities around the globe and do what I love, photograph the whole tournament and document the Homeless World Cup tournaments.

During the first two years, in Amsterdam and Glasgow, I used to shoot everything around. That means I was covering some games, portraits and everything else requested by HWC media team. But last two years I was delegated to take mostly the portraits. Portraits of players, volunteers and supporters. It gives an opportunity to get very close to people and chat with them, rather than shoot from far.

Not everybody wants to have their picture taken. The players are mostly under pressure and they want to focus on oncoming games. Approaching them right before the game is in general very challenging. Getting a player right after the game is not easy too. It the team wins, you get a happy face. If the team lose a game, you may be told to go away. But I understand that and I never push myself too hard.

The tournament usually takes around 7 days so I always have a chance to find the specific person a day after or so. Having just a few seconds to produce a nice image can be hard, but I always try my best to come up with some ideas. I mostly shoot with natural light, 24-70mm lens attached to my Nikon d4s and 85mm with d800 in my other hand. Those images were later used in online articles, news and any kind of publications.

Weather can be tricky too. It’s not always sunny. Even last year in Mexico, where the weather supposed to be nice, we have had 2 days of cold and rain. I couldn’t shoot too much, but I protected my camera and I went out in the rain to see what’s going on.

rain protection for a camera

I’m very proud of taking part in such a great event. I will be shooting in Cardiff this year, so if you anywhere around please come down and support your team! You gonna love it!

Here are some photos (also from my mobile phone – BTS) from the last year tournament in Mexico City. I hope it will give you a taste of the event. Check out also some videos made by good friend Nacho Spinola and much more on the official HWC Youtube Channel.  

You can read few online articles by clicking on links below (filled with some of my work too)

  1. Transforming homeless lives through football
  2. Football to Fatherhood
  3. Playing football to give
  4. Comms people are the first up and last to go to bed