Travel

Photos of 'Real Russian Football', Taken Before the World Cup

Global photography project, Goal Click, sent seven Russian photographers some cameras, and asked them to document their country in their own eyes.
Ekaterinburg, Sergey Poteryaev (All photos courtesy of Goal Click Russia)

Read any of the many reports about Russia "cleaning up its act" ahead of the World Cup, and you get the impression that what we'll be seeing over the next month isn't wholly representative of the culture surrounding the beautiful game in this year's host country. That's not to say it's anywhere near as chaotic as the British tabloids have been trying to make out, but equally, the majority of teams don't normally play in brand new stadiums that cost hundreds of millions of pounds to build.

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Ahead of this year's FIFA World Cup, global photography project Goal Click – which "has a mission to help people understand each other through football", according to CEO and co-founder Matthew Barrett – sent cameras to photographers across Russia, with a brief to document the "real Russia", and Russian football culture, through their own eyes.

Seven photographers took photos in 13 locations throughout the country. One, Sergey Novikov, travelled to six cities, and said of his experience: "I documented public spaces that were significantly changed due to the 2018 World Cup – surfaces of our urban landscape, marked with visible objects that appeared to show the city's involvement in the mass spectacle."

You can read the accounts of all seven photographers here, but for now, check out a selection of the photos they took below.

Ekaterinburg, Sergey Poteryaev

Ekaterinburg, Sergey Poteryaev

Ekaterinburg, Sergey Poteryaev

Ekaterinburg, Sergey Poteryaev

Kaliningrad, Sergey Novikov

Kazan, Alexander Levin

Moscow, Sergey Novikov

Saint Petersburg, Ayoub Abdelrahim

Saransk, Sergey Novikov

Tosno FC, Saint Petersburg, Ayoub Abdelrahim

Nizhny Novgorod, Sergey Novikov

Ural Mountains, Sergey Novikov

Ural Mountains, Sergey Novikov

Ural Mountains, Sergey Novikov

Volgograd, Alexander Grivin

See more photos on Goal Click.