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Interview with Emelie Hübner

Interview with Emelie Hübner

What is the best thing about documenting football and terrace culture?

The best thing about having the honor of photographing football and the Swedish supporter culture is the feelings and passion that show so clearly in our stands. Being an active photographer in football Sweden has taught me an incredible amount about supporter culture, people, and how a club is nothing but the individuals in the stands. Something that I think has become clearer than ever during the pandemic – what people are willing to do for their club and their fellow supporters. It is a passion that many do not understand, and which you miss when you choose the sport out of your life. Photographing football has also been my lifeline, it has strengthened me and allowed me to develop as a person. When things in life have been difficult, football and supporters have always been there. Every arena has become my safety zone, and the place where you live in the present for everything that happens outside the arena during a match becomes insignificant. Football is fantastic in every way.

When did you start as a photographer?

The year was 2013 when I stepped into Olympia in Helsingborg wearing a neon-colored photo vest for the first time and was to watch a football match from the inside. Helsingborgs IF would then face IFK Gothenburg in the Swedish Cup, and I had previously only photographed football in lower divisions. Today, 8 years later, I have experienced matches at the European level, traveled around our elongated country, and watched football matches in all conceivable divisions. In 2019, I had my strongest year ever and watched 68 matches, from pre-season to late Europa League games. It was even then that I watched a match outside Sweden's borders for the first time. Namely FC Copenhagen - Malmö FF, and the following year I also had the honor to follow down to Wolfsburg to watch Vfl Wolfsburg - Malmö FF at Volkswagen Arena. I hope to be able to continue to monitor football and the supporter culture to the same extent from 2022.

As for atmosphere what is the best game you have ever witnessed?

Oh, it is very difficult to say because there are so many to choose from. But a match I will never forget is Malmö FF - Dynamo Kyiv 209 when Markus Rosenberg made his last home match for MFF and decided the match in overtime. The explosion of emotions that spread across the stands at the Stadium then was fantastic. Nevertheless, IFK Gothenburg's European match against Qarabağ FK 2016 was magical. That said, the list of matches with a amazing atmosphere can be made long. There are fantastic cup finals, the Stockholm derby, and European matches that have etched themselves in my memory. In addition to that, I will always rank my first match at Gamla Ullevi very high. It was not a match that stood out especially neither in the results nor in the stands, but for the first time to be able to stand on the inside with the camera in hand and listen to the tones of Snart Skiner Poseidon is a moment I will always carry with me. It was only here and there that I felt I was at home and had found my right place.

What inspires you as a photographer?

What inspires me as a photographer when it comes to football are the supporters. The supporters' commitment, passion, and love for their clubs are incredible. I am grateful to be a part of what is going on in our football stadiums, and their commitment is what makes me want to develop. For the supporters always step up with the levels of tifos, pyro-shows, and more, it gets better with each passing year. More supporter groups are emerging, the ultra culture is taking shape even in smaller clubs and there are enthusiasts around each club. And when the football supporters step up and are on their toes, so must I as a photographer. I also have to find ways every year to be able to deliver images of ever-higher level and quality. For me, it is about quality and not quantity. Some photographers push out lots of pictures in connection with the match but may lack a common thread and quality of the material. Then I would rather deliver fewer pictures with higher quality that in the best possible way reflect the match and give the experience a whole. 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Fanartic collective?

The best thing about being a part of Fanartic is that the individuals behind the concept want to elevate individual photographers and let us build a collection of our images and works. Some of us have a completely non-profit involvement in football, and to be able to be highlighted in this way is fantastic. The purpose of my pictures has never been that it should generate any profit purely financially because I do what I love - but now the supporters also get the chance to decorate their homes with my pictures, which has been in demand for a long time. The money I receive from the sale is then put aside to be able to pay for future trips so that I can continue my commitment and capture the moments in Swedish supporter culture.

Last words

Finally, I just want to say thank you. Thanks to all the supporters around the country who support me and appreciate my work, but also a big thank you to football who has given me meaning in life. What the supporters do for football is invaluable. Every tifo, every flare or smoke bomb, every rhyme, and the flag is what permeates football. As long as you stand there in the stands, football will never die, supporters make the sport come alive.

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