An eye on Palmeiras’ photographer Cesar Greco – part II

In part I of the interview with Cesar Greco, Palmeiras’ official photographer, we learnt about his early steps as a professional and how a typical week at Palmeiras might look like. In this second and last part, he tells us a bit more about the challenges and peculiarities of his profession, what gear he uses, and brings out some extra memorable moments from his days at Palmeiras.

VitÛria da Conquista x Palmeiras
Prass and Jackson looking to clear the airspace against Vitória da Conquista during Palmeiras’ first game in the 2015 Brazil Cup campaign, Lomanto Juniro stadium, March 2015

Anything Palmeiras: Cesar, what would you say are the main challenges when shooting a game of football?

Cesar Greco: Each game is unique, and the challenges and variables are as unique as the game itself.  The structure of the stadium, lighting (day and night), climatic conditions, the organizers’ regulations, positioning in the field (always a battle to get best possible conditions to execute your work), speed of mobile Internet service… These and many other technical and physical aspect will influence the result. The photojournalist must be very flexible and prepared to find solutions to successfully cover a football game. And every game is a learning experience.

AP: During games, do you interact with supporters at all?

CG: I don’t. I focus on my tasks, seeking not to interfere in the action in any way.

Now, the opposite is not necessarily the case. I frequently get cussed at, even been spat at. Also by our own supporters [laughs]. It’s no secret our supporters aren’t particularly fond of the press. And supporters often don’t know I’m not only a palmeirense, but actually working for the club. I end up getting my share. One day, I’ll be famous and they’ll stop cursing at me [laughs].

Brincadeira especial
Prass toys around with a little girl, bearer of Down’s syndrome and dressed as a fairy, after a training session at the Football Academy, October 2015

AP: Are there additional challenges being a supporter and a professional at the same time?

CG: Believe you me! It’s not easy separating passion from profession. Still, I manage to do it, every time, even when we win titles. I’m there, on the pitch, up close with the action, the emotions, and I feel it all, but sort of put it on hold, concentrating on my duty to make this moment eternal through my pictures.

I end up celebrating long after everybody else. This last title of ours [2015 Brazil Cup, editor’s note] I kept shooting until two o’clock in the morning. I got home around 3 am, and from the balcony of my house, I worked on all the photos from the final game until eight in the morning. I celebrated alone, having a beer and gradually understanding that yes, we had won the championship.

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The 2015 Brazil Cup triumph, December 2015

AP: What post-production techniques do you normally apply?

CG: Post-production in photojournalism is and should be a simple process: it’s not correct to substantially alter your pictures. I do minor adjustments to brightness, contrast, cropping and that’s it.

AP: What equipment do you use?

CG: I use Canon. I seek excellence in everything I do, and all my equipment is top-rated. Also because shooting sports events at this level requires the best equipment.

I use two camera bodies: a 1D X and a 1D Mark III. Two long lenses: a 400mm and a 300mm, both 2.8L, in addition to a 70-200mm and a16-35mm lens, these also 2.8L. A 580 EX flash with battery pack and a variety of other accessories. It is a very versatile kit. The cameras are fast and robust.

For post-production, I use a MacBook Pro with the best possible configuration, and Adobe’s “Lightroom” software for image editing.

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Striker Leandro Pereira, now at Dutch Club Brugge, tests the forehead of Audax’s Camacho in the first round of the São Paulo championship, January 2015

AP: Any particularly episodes from your years at Palmeiras that spring to mind?

CG: There have been various, both funny and curious. Others more exciting and emotional, especially when I’ve seen up close Palmeiras winning a championship, like the Brazil Cups of 2012 and 2015.

I’d also highlight the farewell for [former Palmeiras goalkeeper] Marcos, especially due to all the affection he received from fans. I was thrilled when I saw one of my pictures of Marcos on the big screen at the Pacaembu – one of those pictures with his hands raised to the sky after having defended a penalty – after the whistle of the final game of his career.

It is a unique opportunity to follow and take part in the history of a club like Palmeiras, so full of sensational stories during more of a century. The photo books I’ve edited – the 2012 Brazil Cup, the book on São Marcos and now the soon-to-be-out 2015 Brazil Cup – help to keep history alive, as long as paper stands the test of time. This is priceless.

AP: Before we finish, give me two dreams you would like to fulfil as a professional; one linked to you current work at SEP, and a second one in a different context.

CG: As I couldn’t be there in 1951, I’d want to shoot Palmeiras becoming Libertadores Cup champion before going on to win the World Club championship. This will crown my parallel work of consolidating the photography department within Palmeiras, implementing some ideas I have.

The second dream is to win the World Press Photo award, the most prestigious award in photojournalism.

AP: Cesar, may your dreams be fulfilled! Thank you for allowing this interview to take place, congratulations, and keep up the magnificent work!

CG: I’m the one thanking you. It’s been a pleasure and I feel proud to feature in one of Anything Palmeiras’ articles!

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