Through Ryu’s Lens: Paris rises against Barça’s best

The main complaint about football in major European capitals (London aside) is that the size of the city prevents any sort of the tribal passion you’ll find in the smaller communities and villages from developing. Well, tonight was different. Paris became united through Paris St. Germain’s rebellious performance against Barcelona. After the Champions League match, PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said: “We’re happy with what we produced against the best team in the world. We showed Paris could be great.”

Ryu was in the French capital to see Thiago Silva, Zlatan, and company put in a memorable performance against Messi and his new tattoo that looks like it’s inspired by The Walking Dead. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.]


Through Ryu’s Lens: Neymar inspires a nation

Brazil wanted to stomp its foot down as a global power in the game once again. Neymar was striving for greatness. The opportunity presented itself perfectly: outplay the best in the world. Greatness comes with beating the best, and the 3-0 scoreline barely captures the whole story. It was a performance for the ages. It was an incredible way to truly reopen the Maracanã and usher in a new era. Now, naturally, all eyes are on 2014 to do it again. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his FlickrPosted by Eric]


Through Ryu’s Lens: Özil, the calm conquerer

One player certainly can’t make a team great by himself, but he can help push his teammates to new heights. Enter Mesut Özil. It’s hard to call him a revelation because we all knew he was world class, but Arsenal have found the key that unlocks all kinds of possibilities on the pitch. Ryu was at the Emirates to see the German suck all the spirit out of Napoli to make North London explode. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and find more on his FlickrPosted by Eric]


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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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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Through Ryu’s Lens: Madrid a moment away from history

While there was only one club that looked fit for a Champions League final after 90 minutes in Dortmund, Real Madrid strung together an amazing final 10 minutes in their 180 minute battle with the German giant. The chances were there for the taking. Kaka and Benzema changed the game. Ronaldo faded, but ultimately Los Galacticos left their supporters knowing that every ounce of energy was left on the pitch. Ryu was at the Bernabéu to see Jurgen Klopp’s squad hold on until the dying seconds despite the surge of spirit that came from the Spaniards. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his FlickrPosted by Eric]


Through Ryu’s Lens: Brazil fights its way into the final

The beautiful game was put on hold; there were more important things at stake. With protests still at large and the nation on the cusp of chaos, a loss for Brazil could have been devastating. Uruguay were happy to supply the devastation, proving to be a worthy opponent and pushing Brazil to the brink of elimination.

In the end, it wasn’t a glowing series of passes that made the difference. It was a towering header from Paulinho that put Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. There are, of course, more important things for Brazilians to care about than kicking a ball, but the country can still come together with the hope of being champions. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his FlickrPosted by Eric]


Through Ryu’s Lens: Anything you can do…

There’s only one person more disappointed that Zlatan won’t be in Brazil than Zlatan, and that is Ryu Voelkel. The big man deceives, acting and performing in a way that makes him seem to be more than just that. Camera in hand, Ryu was in Stockholm to witness a  battle between two greats.

Just when Portugal were comfortable, Ibrahimovic put them on the back foot. Just when Sweden were full of hope, Ronaldo silenced the stadium. The Swede did all he could, but could only watch as his counterpart did more.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: The Champions League welcomes back Didier

The last time Didier Drogba kicked a ball in the Champions League, it was a cool penalty that allowed Chelsea to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history. So when Drogba landed in Turkey after an extremely lucrative and tumultuous 8 month trip to Shanghai, excitement was in the air as he could continue his already legendary career with Galatasaray. The Turkish giants welcomed Schalke in the round of 16, and Ryu was in town to capture the Ivorian making his return on the continent’s greatest stage.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.


Through Ryu’s Lens: Zlatan, Zlatan, Zlatan

Oh, the Champions League was going on too? We were taken aback by the Zlatan Show™, and rightfully so. The Swede is the man of the moment, and watching Ibrahimovic in his element at the Parc des Princes in Paris was a sight to see, even if PSG vs. Porto was not a particularly memorable match. Ryu had his camera in hand in “Par-eeee” and did a little portrait of one of the game’s greatest characters.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.


Through Ryu’s Lens: Old Trafford dreams trump FA Cup magic

The Theatre of Dreams was as vibrant as ever, and Ryu almost forgot just how incredible of a venue it is. Manchester United welcomed Fulham, but acted rudely to their guests with a display of pure demolition. Rooney, Chicharito, and Ryan Giggs led the way forward into the 5th round of the FA Cup, leaving Fulham with only a consolation goal for their trip back to Craven Cottage.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.


Through Ryu’s Lens: Pep.

Ryu Voelkel hopped on a train for 8 hours. The destination: Freiburg. Why? Because it’s a beautiful little city known for exemplary sustainable urbanism, but more importantly Bayern Munich were in town. While Bayern are a force, Germany’s biggest and most stylish arrival has been Pep Guardiola. And Pep was the man (usually) in focus for Ryu throughout the match. It ended 1-1, but we’re obviously the real winners here. Warning: photos may inspire you to spend your savings on a 10,000 euro suit.

[You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and find more on his FlickrPosted by Eric]