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Matinee: Stuart MacFarlane Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

10 February 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 136th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Stuart MacFarlane's 28 Years at 'The Arsenal'.

In this three-minute Paper Boat production, Arsenal football club chief photographer Stuart MacFarlane reflects on his 28 years with the organization.

"Soccer" is what we Americans call the sport. It's the beautiful game.

Based in Highbury, London, Arsenal plays in the Premier League, England's top level. The club has won 13 League titles, a record 13 Football Association Cups, two League Cups, the League Centenary Trophy, 15 FA Community Shields, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

So MacFarlane has had some fun.

It all started with a love of the game as a kid. And it didn't hurt that his neighbor worked for Kodak. But football and photography "aren't going to get you anywhere," his mother would admonish him. She suggested he join the police force like his father or work in a bank.

It all started with a love of the game as a kid. And it didn't hurt his neighbor worked for Kodak.

He took a course in photography and at the end of it one of his teachers showed him a copy of the British Journal of Photography which had a story about sports photography in it. "Look," he said. "This is right up your street."

Working for an agency, he was assigned to photograph the Arsenal football team and eventual went to work for them.

As he tells the story, we see him working on the practice pitch and in the locker room. Mundane shots, carefully composed. It's a peek into the less glamorous side of the job.

His first photos for the team were in 1990. And they were horrible, he confesses. He just didn't know how to shooting action. He was on the verge of giving it all up when he "ran into Mike King." King, who died in 2015 at the age of 52, was "the best sports photographer of his generation," MacFarlane says. He took MacFarlane under his wing and his career took off.

By then we're watching MacFarlane shoot a match, his laptop just to his side. The fast pace of the action accompanies his reflection that 28 years just fly by when you're doing something you love.

"Give me another 28 years," he says.

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