Futbol. Football. Soccer. Fussball. Fodbold. The greatest game in the world has many names, but few places with such grand passion for the game as in South America. I made many futbol related images in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. With only the finale of the EURO2012 tournament remaining, I present a few images of futbol in Peru.

Futbol is a large part of life in most of South America, merged into the political and social fabric of nations. We love football in Denmark, but as Danes tend to do things, in a reasonable and mostly fairly subdued way. Viking behaviour is long past. In America del Sur, futbol is loved at a volume of 11. Worshipped to the extreme, sometimes past the extreme. Kids played in the streets outside of my house in Salta every night. Men gathered around TVs to watch the big matches and scream at the screen, while time stands still. Futbol is a fabric of life, part of the very air people breathe.

I have played quite a bit and am a decent player. As in most things, I mostly practiced by myself, more interested in perfecting my technique than playing on a team. But I did play on a tiny team from our tiny town in the country. We once reached the Danish championships when I was a tiny 10 year old. We did not win. I remember big kids from big cities being a lot faster than me and my coach telling me to just trip them or push them if they ran past me. I would do no such thing. They were twice my size anyway, would not have gone well.

I made these pictures in the barrios of Arequipa feeling perfectly safe, having also been reassured by my amigo Adam that it was fine, and the kids were happy to be photographed. The expression on the face of our taxi driver when me and my friend Laura told him to make a right into the barrios was priceless; but was beaten by the sheer horror evident when I told him to stop and that I was going out to make pictures. This was not his idea of a picturesque area, in fact he insisted on showing us this fancy and boring very expensive neighbourhood on the way back. The barrios is where it’s at for me. Life without filters.

For me futbol is about play, having fun, loosing myself in the game. I love that ball, some days the ball loves me. Bit like photography. I love that camera, some days more than others, love to loose myself in it. To make pictures. To kick the ball down the street. Well I didn’t actually have a street when I grew up. Had a farm with fields. Kick it down memory lane. To be a kid again.

13 Comments on “Futbol”

  1. Love the pictures – especially the bottom ones – and the story makes me yearn for pictures of the young Flemming with a football at the danish youth championship in the early eighties.

    1. Gracias amigo. A team photo did make it into the Nordjyske Stifttidende paper. Could conceivably be in a box somewhere at my father’s place. I shall investigate. We were quite a sight. Quite good too. Tiny country town team. We inherited the jerseys from the older boys. Needless to say mine was about 5 times to big.

  2. “life without filters” perfect way to describe the barrios.
    Congratulations for the story Flemming. Abrazo.

  3. Ahhh football. Yes, football was very much part of the lifeblood of the motherland as well, in Asian fashion. Blocks of dense, tightly stacked apartments with occupants adding to the roar of a stadium miles away.

    I thoroughly enjoyed playing football in school, although I was never any good at it – too busy getting in the way of my own feet. I must say though, having not played team sports since aforementioned school days, I actually miss it very much. Nothing like throwing yourself into the fray, veins thrumming with heated blood, sights set on the only goal in that space-time continuum: to win.

    Hmmm, that reminds me of a section of Diario del Peru. Humans and other animals, closer than we like to believe!

    1. Football in Asia, brings back memories, if there’s one thing I wish I had recorded it was the scene in the guesthouse one night in the very cold mountaint town of Nong Hat, Laos. Laos vs Thailand was on TV, the whole town gathered around this one TV, knocking back homemade whisky out of a 20 liter bucket. Fun!

  4. Cat juggling is the most popular sport in the world. Where have you been?

    Do you realize that when the kid in “Into the Wild” paddles down the Colorado River on his way to Mexico and encounters two strange people along the river’s edge, people who lure him in with hotdogs, do you realize they were from….wait for it…wait for it…Copenhagen?

    Love the blog Flemming. I don’t care what your friends and family tell me you are a talented guy after all. Please start your deep breathing exercises, Peru 2013 won’t be the same without you.

    Most graciously,


    1. Mucho gracias amigo. Already working Adam to try and be back for 2013. Pisco Diaries Part II.

      Did you just watch Into the Wild or is everything Danish now totally taking over your mind? Funny thing, in the book and real life that couple was German. Sean Penn must have thought “no no this is wrong, we need two over-acting wacky Danish people, give me Danish people!”.

I'd love to hear your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.