Images shot on Kodak Portra 800 in Lomography LC-Wide
In August of 2021, Mansfield Town played Bristol Rovers in a match in the 4th tier of the English Football League. It took place at Field Mill – Mansfield’s stadium – and saw the hosts win 2-1 through a very, very late penalty.
This made me and the rest of the Mansfield fans pretty happy, as I’m sure you can imagine, and the Bristol Rovers fans very unhappy, as I’m sure you can imagine also.
What also made me happy from that day was taking the Lomo LC-Wide along and finishing off the roll of Kodak Portra 800 that was in it, and then seeing the passable results I got once it was developed.
They’re nothing exceptional, but they do tell a little story from that day. A story that starts in the glamourous setting of the car park outside the stadium.
Shooting what you can at sporting events
I think the last time I did any kind of photography at a football match was back in Chiang Mai in 2014. At the time, I remembered something my old photography teacher had said about shooting images at sporting events.
The advice was that unless you’re going with a huge telephoto lens and can sit at ground level with no obstructions in your line of sight, don’t beat yourself up if your shots don’t look as good as the professionals who do have all of the above at their disposal.
It’s a viewpoint that I agree with, and one that I would expand on too. Instead of bemoaning what you can’t do, shoot what you can and do that to the best of your ability instead.
For me, that means the surroundings and what it’s like to be at the game, rather than photographs of the game.
Climbing the stairs, standing on the concourse, having the pre-match pie and pint. The sort of thing people do every time they go yet people who have never been may never have seen.
A few Field Mill firsts and facts
How about a few Field Mill firsts before we go on, courtesy of the club’s own website? Just to add some information to this thing alongside my opinions.
First up is that it’s the oldest professional football ground in the world, having first hosted a game in 1861.
Second is that it staged the first game in England to be played under artificial lighting, back in 1930.
And finally, it hosted the first match played with the fluorescent yellow balls that the football league started using in 1998.
That may seem like three insignificant firsts for a stadium to boast – and let’s face it, it is – but it’s probably more than most others have.
I should mention too that while I keep calling this football ground Field Mill, its official name at the time of writing is the One Call Stadium.
Like most Stags fans, I appreciate hugely what the owners John and Carolyn Radford have done for the club. They’ve pumped in a lot of their own money, including on buying the stadium back from the former owner.
So if they want to use the stadium sponsorship as a way to get the name of their main business out there where the media have to use its official name, that’s great. I support them in that.
But much like Newcastle fans would never call St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena back when it was called that, I’m not sure how likely it is the One Call Stadium will ever be adopted into common parlance among the supporters.
Regardless of what it’s called though, these final few photographs from there see us get to our seats and watch the teams emerge from the tunnel to start the game.
Shooting film where you go vs going somewhere to shoot
This little set of images from a Mansfield Town FC game represents a different kind of photography to what I’ve mostly done before, in terms of why I shot them.
Everything was in easy reach on some sort of train – be that the subway or an intercity one – and even if it would take me an hour or two to get there, the fact I had far more spare days to play with than I do now meant that didn’t matter.
The specific location didn’t matter that much either; the point is that the main reason for going somewhere was to shoot some film there.
I’ve done that since I’ve been back in the UK, too. I probably wouldn’t have gone to Roche Abbey if I wasn’t into photography, for example.
There’s a difference between that though and shooting some film at a place you’re going to be at for a different reason, like I did with these images from a Mansfield Town football match.
And maybe this is something I’ll do more of in the future. Instead of only shooting at places I specifically go to shoot, which is mostly what I did before, I’ll do more at places and events I’m at anyway.
I’m going to have to do this if I want to keep on shooting so much film anyway, because I sadly don’t have the time to do so many of those specially planned trips anymore.
That’s cool, though. If I’m going somewhere like a football match, I’d rather go with a Lomo LC-Wide loaded with some Kodak Portra 800 and come back with some shots than go there without. 🙂
If you want to see more of the film photography I’ve done, most of it not at a sports stadium, why not have a look at some of these other posts too:
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