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Photography in football according to Max Galys

An interview with the Eintracht Frankfurt's official photographer

Photography in football according to Max Galys An interview with the Eintracht Frankfurt's official photographer

The way of experiencing football has changed, is still changing, as I write these very lines, compared to a few years ago social, TV, newspapers, photography and radio have invaded the playing fields, totally overturning the narrative around the most followed sport in the world. The advent of social media has changed everything for clubs, and nowadays it is essential to have a photograph and an aesthetic that goes well with the image and values that the team wants to give of itself to its fans and enthusiasts around the world.

But not all teams communicate or rather shoot in the same way, just as in football there are different ways of taking to the pitch, modules and players can vary, in the same way each club has its own strategy and approach that it adopts from year to year, depending on what its needs are. Few clubs this season, but also in past seasons, have been able to maintain truly high standards, managing to break through that wall that divides clubs and the end user, breaking through to their hearts. 

One of these is undoubtedly Eintracht Frankfurt, which in addition to achieving great sporting goals and winning the Europa League, has distinguished itself through its photography that is different from those of other clubs, much more attentive to detail and always trying to capture a hidden detail. The credit and part of the splendid work done on social media can be attributed to the lens of Max Galyis, who has been cheering and supporting the Frankfurt club since he was 11 years old, and in our chat he explained what it means to work for his favourite team and much more.

The first question that arises is how does it feel to work for your favourite team? 

So to be honest, you need to say goodbye to your old fan-life. There are no more relaxing matchdays with friends and beer in the stadium. In the most victorious moments, you need to be 100% focused, to get the best shots possible. On the emotional side, I often postpone my feelings. But that’s all worth it, when you see how fans react to the photos. When they tell me, they felt all the positive emotions again... through the pictures I shot. That’s why I do this and that’s why it’s ok to loose a little bit of my own old fan-life.

How did your passion for Eintracht start? And how did you start working for them?

So I became a Eintracht Frankfurt fan when I was 11 years old. Football was something, my dad and I both adored.. something that we could experience together. I recreated the stadium of Frankfurt for a school project and during a fan- exhibition, the stadium stood in the official Eintracht Frankfurt Museum. Unfortunately, the stadium got damaged and they gave me a season ticket as compensation. From that day I went to every game.. no matter if first or second division.

In 2017 I got contacted by Eintracht Frankfurt. They offered me a job as a host for YouTube formats they wanted to implement. At the time I was working for the biggest YouTube channel in Germany: freekickerz. So theoretically the perfect opportunity.. but I didn’t want to be in front of the camera anymore. I was done being an entertainer... I wanted to be known for something I created myself. So I rejected the offer and asked for an accreditation, to shoot some photos during the match. With zero experience in matchday photography. Nowadays I am proud to cover every match for my club as a freelancer. So never think you are not ready for an opportunity.

How did your passion for photography start? But above all, why did you decide to only shoot in analogue?

Most of the analogue photography I do for myself. It’s something between a challenge and an obsession. It’s so so different from the digital photography I use for most of my jobs. With analogue cameras you capture moments in a single image. It’s not important, if it’s not 100% focussed. It’s not important if there is motion blur. It’s just about this specific moment and the image you have. One role of film contains 36 images. So you have to think twice, which moments you capture. In a perfect world, I’d get paid for my analogue stuff alone.. until then, I do this kind of photography mostly for myself, capturing my projects in negative and grain. 

What can you tell us about winning the Europa League and the many European trips you made in this season?

It’s still surreal and absolutely crazy, how much this club means to the people in Frankfurt. How proud they are to be fans. How proud they are of this team and this title. We are not spoilt by success and celebrated every Europa League match this season. No matter if we played against Royal Antwerpen or FC Barcelona. Eintracht Frankfurt is something, everyone wants to achieve. We are more than a football club. We are a community that is not constructed on titles but rather on people who are truly proud to support this club. 

At what point is football live photography nowadays? Many clubs still want the same old concept while your approach and that of a few others seems to be different.

Of course not every club can afford a big media production team like AC Milan. But in my opinion it’s not about big production teams. It’s about a leadership management that is openminded enough for something new, taking a risk. That put trust in young, motivated people without looking too much at experience. Although I never worked as a matchday photographer, I still received a lot of trust from Frankfurt. Together we implemented an imagery with a high value of brand recognition. We use the exclusive access we have to create exclusive content. So every club that still uses pictures from platforms like Getty should ask themselves, why their social media channels don’t look unique.

Is there an Italian club that has impressed you with its communication and use of social media?

There is one club, that has to be mentioned: Venezia FC. It’s really not a secret, that the unique communication of this club is above all clubs in Italy.. maybe in all of Europe. They combine football and lifestyle on a new level. If someone doesn’t know their channel.. shame on you! ;)