Goal Click is a global project with a simple idea: send a bunch of disposable cameras to football players across the world and get them to document their experiences. This year, the photography social enterprise delivered cameras to a collection of players in pre-training for this year’s Women’s World Cup – including Thailand, New Zealand and England – and asked them to snap pictures of their lives. And for professional footballers, they can really shoot (pun intended) a decent photo.
We spoke to Matthew Barrett, CEO and co-founder of Goal Click, about the 21 photos taken before the Women’s World Cup.
VICE: Hi Matt. So, first, tell me: how did Goal Click start?
Matthew Barrett: It started around five years ago, with a very simple idea that we would find someone from every country in the world and provide them with a camera to capture the story, and give them the power and control to do it themselves. While Goal Click’s global project continues, we’re now focusing more on specific series, whether that's a specific city or country or issue or tournament.
How do the photos from the Women’s World Cup differ from the photos you’ve received back from men’s tournaments?
This is the first time we have gone in-depth in a big way into women's professional football. What I particularly love about all these photos is the range of situations that they cover. When we first started the project, one of the concerns was: would they all look very similar? Would there be a lot of training ground action? But the photos that we got back show that the range in women's football is pretty dramatic.
You get range in men's football but at the top level, everything starts to look quite similar. While you're dealing with women footballers who are united by being at the top of their game, it's still quite surprising how much difference there is in terms of facilities, in terms of conditions, in terms of pitch quality.
Why do you think the format of the disposable camera works?
I think what the disposables do is make them equal as you get a standardised look and feel. They also lower the guard of their teammates. There are a number of photos that I do not believe an outsider could take. There's something quite natural and not intrusive about a disposable camera. As with all of our projects, it also gives a lot of intentionality about the photos. There are only 27 photos on the camera. You get a very deliberate set of photos that really tell a story, and you get more intimate with the players.
What’s the most interesting thing we can learn from these pictures?
I have been struck by the closeness of the bonds of the women footballers. This is across the entire board. It's quite surprising, having that strength of feeling.
Through the stories as well, there's still this commonality of barriers. Hopefully, this is the last time that we have stories of people who started playing with boys until they were not allowed to play anymore, or all the cliches of not having the team or the encouragement. I hope that if we repeat this project in four and eight years time, those stories are consigned to the past.