Hans van der Meer (b 1955) is a Dutch photographer.
In “Dutch Fields”, van der Meer captures football matches of the lower and regional divisions of the Netherlands, an idea latter executed across other European countries including the UK. The original idea came from looking at an archive of old football photos. According to van der Meer…
…”in the archive you could see how radically the photography of football had changed at the end of the fifties…space disappears from the images. In a sport which is all about the position of the players on the pitch, the photographer had given up one of their most powerful weapons: the overview” (1)
Van der Meer makes important use of the background to provide a frame of reference in his photographs of football matches. The players look relativelly small, and although the pictures are printed in large format, the actual play, while still the main subject, is somehow eclipsed by the surroundings which provide not only context to the action, but transform the pictures from sport photographs into lanscapes. The framing in this case is an essential part of the photographic process, and there seems to be a concious decision to add elements to the picture rather than to take, which would be what one would normally expect in “action” photography, where there is a tendency to crop the image to focus the atention of the viewer.
(1) Pardo, A. and Parr, M. (2016) Strange and familiar: Britain as Revelaed by international photographers. Germany: Prestel.