Documentary photography; Can’t Smile Without You by Martin Andersen

Photographer and life-long Tottenham Hotspur fan, Martin Andersen has turned his camera on his fellow fans to create ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, an intimate and often visceral collection of photographs taken at home, away, and across Europe from 2013 until 2017 with the last game played at the White Hart Lane stadium.

Photographer and life-long Tottenham Hotspur fan, Martin Andersen has turned his camera on his fellow fans to create ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, an intimate and often visceral collection of photographs taken at home, away, and across Europe from 2013 until 2017 with the last game played at the White Hart Lane stadium.

Selected and edited from over one hundred different games, Andersen presents an authentic and unflinching documentation of the fans and their resultant relationships and community. His imagery depicts the drama, tensions, and raw emotions involved in such unwavering support of a football team that infiltrates every part of life.

Capturing a rapidly changing culture and a unique moment in Tottenham Hotspur’s history following the demolition of the 118 year-old stadium at White Hart Lane at the end of the 2016/17 season, the monochrome images in ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ also have a timeless quality that transcends the recent era they were taken in. These could be images of any diehard football fans and of the associated rituals, pre and post match, that are an integral part of being one.

In addition to the 119 photographs that were edited and graded by acclaimed photographer Kim Thue, ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ features texts by lifelong Tottenham fans Joe Kerr, a writer and bus driver at Tottenham Garage, and Felix Petty, Editor at i-D Magazine.

I was interested in capturing characters, emotions and expressions and also the dynamics of the group. I kept an instinctive approach throughout and often shot from the hip. Nothing was planned or staged. It was all about capturing those little moments — a feeling that could so often get lost if I’d spent time framing the shots. 

I like using my camera as a tool to meet other people. It can help break down boundaries. I always treat everyone with respect, if they didn’t want to be photographed I wouldn’t photograph them. I am always modest and interested in what other people are doing and thinking. I take better pictures when I feel a connection with others. Once you are accepted and you are part of the same dynamic you feel that you belong to something special and it becomes easier to take pictures.

About Martin Andersen

Martin Andersen (b.1972, Denmark) is a photographer, art director and designer. His photography work has been published and exhibited internationally in China, France, Japan, Mexico, UK and USA. Additionally Andersen has directed music videos for artists such as: The Breeders, Lush, Iceage and Lowly and created films for Channel 4, Discovery Channel and ITV. Based in South London, he runs the creative studio Andersen M. His film work has won many international awards and both his design and photography has been exhibited internationally. Andersen also lectures at Central Saint Martins, School of Fashion, London and is the MA Course Leader at CSVPA Cambridge. [Official Website]

Can’t Smile Without You

Hardback clothbound, first edition.

248 pages. Dimensions: 30cmx30cmx5cm.

Printed in tritone by EBS Verona, Italy. Publisher: AMS.

ISBN: 978-1-5272-4955-4

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