In this blog, I want to show the selection process of the images that show the preparations for the game. This was the most exciting of the afternoon, with a tremendous amount of noise, dancing, cheering and showing off. My main objective is to show how John underwent it all and how the crowds responded to him. Unfortunately, I will not submit the pictures of the supercool and muscled Senegalese wrestlers, but do have a look at these images as well!
As you can see, there's a lot happening before a match. The wrestlers dance, have some kind of holy water thrown over them, they need to play the drums, wear sticks, benches, or whatever their coach has decided will give them special power and most of all, show off. John tried really hard to come along and it was so funny to see him trying to dance and how the public responded to it. In my selected images, I want to show how funny this actually was and the interaction between John, his fellow wrestlers and the crowd. This image shows how hard he is trying and how his team is helping him along. In the back you can see the spectators laughing and cheering him along. As you can see, I have made a few changes in the highlights and lightened up a few parts to bring the focus on John.
Here's an other selected image. John is not in here, but I think it gives a good idea of the enthusiasm of the crowd. To bring more balance to the image and make sure that the eye doesn't get stuck in the upper left empty corner, I have cropped it and reduced the highlights a bit so that the signs are clearer.
As you can see in the following image, the wrestlers get water and some kind of paper and paint all poured all over them. This is not an image of John, but his opponent and I want to add this one because I like the movement, the colours and the expression on the wrestler's face a lot. Together with the other images it becomes clear that he is John's opponent, so I think it will fit within the set.
I think the image needed some sharpening and I wanted to bring a bit more interesting composition in the photo. So I cropped it again and put more clarity in the image. I'm happy with the result. I took this image with my old Canon 350D and very old telelens on 300 mm. That's why there's movement, even though it was shot at a 1/200 shutter speed. But in this case, I like how it emphasizes the movement of the water, but still gives sharpness in the wrestler's face.
The following image is right before the game starts and John and his opponent are lined up to be introduced to the crowd. I chose this image because it shows a bit of the tension that you feel before a game through John's body language, but also how the cameraman is getting ready and the reporter is checking his notes one more time. I like to add this image as well because it tells how important wrestling is for Senegalese society and that the game will be broadcasted. As you can see from the before and after processing, I have cropped the image and changed the highlights and shadows in order to emphasise the cameraman a bit more.