When eight Russians were given old-fashioned cameras and told to document their world through the medium of football, the real Russia was shown through a different lens, the founder of the photography project told RT.
Matthew Barrett is the founder of Goal Click, a global football photography project. "We find people from every country in the world, we give them disposable analog cameras, and we ask them to tell a story about their country through football," he told RT.
Ahead of the World Cup, Barrett gave old-fashioned cameras to eight people across the country, asking them to help show the "real Russia" by "documenting the country through their own eyes."
The project showed a completely different angle to football in the country ahead of the World Cup, particularly as tournament coverage obviously only focuses on professional players and the stadiums where they play their tournaments.
But there's more to see when it comes to football in Russia, according to Barrett, who said that images from the Ural Mountains impressed him the most. "It was a very unusual set of photos which really reveals grassroots football and Russian culture through the game," he said, adding that the photos received from the region were "fantastic," as they looked at "how Soviet football infrastructure has developed into the 21st century."
Barrett said the project allowed for the stories of ordinary people in Russian society to be told. "What we really wanted to do was tell those untold stories and really give Russians a chance to give their own first-person perspective on their own country."
The Goal Click founder said the project helped him understand that Russia is very similar to other countries, despite a perception that it is "different in some way to the rest of the world."
At the end of the day, Goal Click shows in Russia and other countries that "you really can understand a people through football." The sport shows differences, but it's also a way of people understanding what other cultures look like. "When you tell it through the lens of football, it's so much more relatable," Barrett said.