Photographers' Blog

Suarez v Chiellini – capturing the moment

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.

Did he bite?

Miami, Florida

By Russell Boyce

The shout went up “He’s bitten him! Suarez has just bitten him!”

It was the World Cup match between Uruguay and Italy, and both teams were playing for a place in the last 16.

The game was tense, with pictures streaming in from the match in Brazil to the remote picture-editing center we have set up in Miami.

A television replay and it looked pretty certain that Uruguay’s Luis Suarez had bitten Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in an off-the-ball incident. But you can never tell 100 percent when looking at TV.

La Patria Gaucha (The Gaucho Motherland)

By Andres Stapff

The Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha transcends Uruguay.  Named that way in reference to borders that are cultural rather than political, the celebration includes communities from Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil; all regions that have a common past involving livestock, open plains and immense spaces.

The first smells of the Fiesta were harsh. Several calves had been slaughtered with their carcasses hanging from old-style hooks made of tree branches and leather straps. The bowels lay in blood puddles covered with big green flies, while men butchered meat and prepared innards for the barbecue. The participants’ sleeping quarters where constructed with age-old techniques using building materials that are no longer seen, such as mud, manure, straw and branches. The gauchos would sleep on the floor using part of their saddles as mattress and pillow. Nobody seemed to notice the flies, blood, offal or manure.

The gaucho, in both character and lifestyle, originated with cattle and its abundance, beginning when cows roamed freely everywhere. With such supply cows could be openly hunted for their meat, and leather became its only commercial value. The gauchos’ appearance comes in part from that abundance of food; typically he is a solitary semi-nomad who spends a good part of his life on the back of the other animal he is identified with – the horse.

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