Looking Forward

Looking Forward: Streetball

Christine Fenzl, 2008 Finalist

Christine Fenzl’s work centers on portrait photography of children and teenagers who are confronted with the conflict of divided societies, and who experience social and urban extremes. Her ongoing project follows the work of non-governmental organizations that use street football as a way to promote cooperation and cultural understanding among young people. The images here are from programs in Skopje, Macedonia, and Nairobi, Kenya, two of the places she has photographed.
Ball, Korogocho, Nairobi, Kenya 2006
School kitchen, Gazi Baba, Skopie, Macedonia 2005
Gazi Baba, Skopie, Macedonia 2005
Almir, Sutka, Skopie, Macedonia 2005
Burhan and Arijan, Gazi Baba, Skopie, Macedonia 2005
Memet, Bogovinje, Macedonia 2005
June in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya 2006
Rosemary and Christine, Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya 2006
Field, Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya 2006
Photographer's Statement: 

These organizations understand football as a medium to attract children from the streets and offer support and motivation. Furthermore they help them create a perspective for the future. They use the power of sport to transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged youngsters to enrich their lives. Especially in Macedonia after hard times during the 1990s in former Yugoslavia: war, emotional stress, and social clashes in multi-ethnic surroundings caused enormous problems in returning to common life and tolerance.

Football presents a way of hope and the possibility to change their living situation and allows for the personal development of the young people and their communities.

Many problems have to be faced simultaneously in a high crime area like Mathare Slum, Nairobi. Most of the children grew up on the streets caught up in a cycle of poverty, drugs and violence. Fights between rival gangs have led to the burning of homes and even death. There is no architecture, no structure, as we know it; there are no choices.

The destructiveness of the conflicts is so overwhelming that I am in awe of these young peoples’ power to withstand that force... I am impressed by the teenagers and kids who give this struggle a face. I admire the strength the young people have and I am fascinated by the different ways football can stir the power to keep on going.

christine.fenzl's picture

Christine Fenzl studied photography at the School of Photography in Munich. Since 1994 / 1995 Christine Fenzl has worked as an independant photographer, with solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the United States.

Her work has been published in magazines like “ Die Zeit, Liberation, New York Sunday Times, Vogue, Stern, Marie Claire” etc. In 2004 her work was selected for the 3rd Berlin Biennial for contemporary art in Berlin and in 2009 her work was shown during Les Recontres dÁrles.

Fenzl specializes in photographing children and teenagers in their living environment.