Photo finish | Kebab-backed footballer among prize finalists

Tony Saddique, Red Star Harehills, Leeds, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Paul Blake. Link to Financial Times article.London | Tony Saddique of Red Star Harehills in Leeds is not a well-known footballer. The side is sponsored by a kebab shop. But, until 12 Feb 2006, his picture will hang alongside 59 others in the National Portrait Gallery as a finalist in the Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize competition. In a Financial Times review, Francis Hodgson reads the clues that portraiture supplies to identity and the photographer’s intent. In this case, photographer Paul Blake—as part of a “Sport for Sport’s Sake” series—has positioned Saddique with a bearing that, to Hodgson, suggests historic poses struck by legendary cricketer W.G. Grace and Football Association principal Arthur Kinnaird. “[A]s a viewer,” writes Hodgson,

I have never heard of Tony Saddique and have to make what sense of him I can. Once I know where to situate him in my mental filing cabinet, the details start to make sense. Clubs called Red Star were traditionally army clubs in eastern Europe under communism. It is possible that the Harehills club was founded by people who knew that and wanted to make a radical or mock-radical point. But there is a cross of St George on Saddique’s left thigh to underline the multicultural side of the scene, too.

Leave a comment