Some ideas are so simple that one can merely doff one’s cap when they’re executed. And so it is with Chris Olley’s beguiling 92 Stadiums project.
The premise couldn’t be more modest: to take photos of all the 92 football league stadiums in England. Achieved over a two-year period, in which Olley (the former lead singer with indie also-rans Six By Seven) travelled across the country on a vintage motorbike, the black and white photos are deliberately taken on non-match days, thus offering a desolate, almost eerie, quality to the grounds.
Aside from the stunning and candid photography, the images also capture the changing face of football stadium in this country, and, by extension, how football itself is evolving. No longer the hub of a community - modern-day stadia being constructed on the outskirts of cities and towns – these new grounds can be interpreted as shorthand for how supporters’ relationship with the beautiful game is shifting irrevocably.
The grounds shown above, in order from one to five, are: Pride Park, home of Derby County; Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers; Bramall Lane, Sheffield United; Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace; Eastlands, Manchester City
92 Stadiums – an exhibition of photographs by Chris Olley – runs at the Silk Mill Museum, Derby, until February 20, 2011. For more information visit www.derby.gov.uk