Suarez v Chiellini – capturing the moment

June 27, 2014

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has been banned for a record nine international soccer matches for biting the Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup game. Reuters photographer Tony Gentile captured a key picture, showing the marks on Chiellini’s shoulder after the incident. Here, he describes covering the match.

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal

Recife, Brazil

By Tony Gentile

The World Cup is one of the most important events we cover as photographers, drawing the attention of fans from all over the world.

A couple of days ago I witnessed one of the big moments in this big story. I was covering Italy v. Uruguay and it felt almost just like any other match, with a little added interest because my own national team, Italy, was playing.

The match was rather boring, and normally an ugly game produces ugly pictures.

But in the second half, while the score was still 0-0, there was some strange contact between Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. I was following the action elsewhere on the pitch, but I saw them both fall down.

They both looked like they were in pain, and I started to take pictures. I followed the story until Chiellini reacted angrily right in front of me, pulling down his shirt to reveal his shoulder. I shot some photos and, for me, the story was finished.

But I only did part of the work. During the match I couldn’t see what I had really captured because the images I shot were automatically transmitted to the editing desk through my camera. So the second, very important part of the job was done by our great editors.

Like the protagonist of the famous movie “Blow-up,” editors can look inside the frame and find details that only an accurate eye can spot, helping the photographer to get the best result from his or her work.

My editors spotted the marks on Chiellini’s shoulder, and a cropped version of my picture was sent out to our clients so they could see too.

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Getting “the picture” was a joint effort; it was a mix of the photographer paying attention to the news on the pitch, and our experienced editors doing their job accurately. That combination can make you the winner hands-down.



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