Through Ryu’s Lens: Embracing the game in Basel

Not every match can be a World Cup final, and it won’t be that way for another four years. So while we brace for a new season in Europe’s major leagues, Ryu Voelkel is already back in action, traveling the continent to capture the game unseen by most. He recently visited Switzerland to see Basel take on Luzern, and the kids, fans, and vibrant stadium stole the show.

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Capturing The 2014 World Cup: A Photographer’s Guide

Words and Photography by Ryu Voelkel

It’s been a while. So forgive me. Por favor. And this is a long one so I suggest you make some tea or coffee before digging in.

I thought I would talk about my experience as a professional freelance photographer shooting the World Cup. Not the ones who work for an agency or a newspaper. Basically, a backpacker’s guide to shooting the World Cup. Beleza.


First of all, I was there to shoot as many matches as possible. I estimated 21 and fell 1 short and ended up with 20. Why? I got killed by the fog in Curitiba which grounded my plane until the match in Belo Horizonte started.

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The World’s Best Football Photographer and The World Cup: Ryu x Rio

We’ve featured the sublime photography of Ryu Voelkel on AFR for years, so - unless you’re remarkably new here - the man hardly needs an introduction. But he does need your help.

Ryu captures the game’s atmosphere and aesthetics in ways that no one else can, and he wants to tell a story unlike anything you’ll see around this summer’s World Cup. He has already been given the green light by FIFA to shoot matches, but he needs support to spend the month in Brazil, travel to the tournament’s biggest matches, and create an incredible book around the 2014 World Cup. If you appreciate great photography and support independent artists, get behind Ryu’s Kickstarter.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Belgium’s biggest match (in Belgium)

Despite a population of just over 11 million and a history of little prestige in football on the world’s stage, Belgium are considered the darkhorse by many to win this summer’s World Cup. With Hazard, Kompany, Courtois, Lukaku, and Vertoghen (just to name a few) leading the Red Devils in Brazil, Belgium have shown that they’re united and have the quality to perform against any opponent.

But before millions support an underdog’s hopes to win it all, Ryu took his camera to Brussels to capture the biggest match within Belgium’s borders: Anderlecht vs Standard Liege.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: José does it again

Parisian fans have swooped past frustration and sit in their city with nothing but existential angiush. Oh, what could have been. This was their year, and it was led by the mighty Zlatan. That is, until he was reminded of his humanity and sidelined with an injury.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Blues in Black

It was a bright and sunny day in London. A rarity for Chelsea faithful. Matchday was made even better when Mourinho’s men stole 3 points in the dying minutes of the match against Everton. Nevertheless, Ryu brought out his camera and turned the lights down low at Stamford Bridge.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Barça storm Manchester

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Through Ryu’s Lens: The North London Derby

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Milan falls in the Milan Derby

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