In this in-depth series, we speak to the photographers that have covered the annual Homeless World Cup. We look at some of their work, their highlights from the events, and find out more about what inspires and drives them. In this edition, HWC photographer Anita Milas gives us an insight into her powerful, emotive work.
What were you looking to capture at our event? What were you looking to convey?
My goal as a photographer at the Homeless World Cup (HWC) is to try to photograph EVERY player that attends and share my photos with as many people as possible to share the message of how important this event is. After the first HWC I experienced, it was easy to see what I had to capture, compelled in fact. For every participant and volunteer, the week of this amazing event creates unforgettable memories and boosts confidence and comradeship. Nowhere else that I know can so many real people from so many countries come together with such love and aspirations to share a common experience. The teams share a commonality albeit every story of each individual is different. To try and capture the joy of their HWC journey, the experience that will give them a new lease on life, is a privilege.
Was your first Homeless World Cup what you thought it would be? What were your highlights?
My first HWC was far better than what I thought it would be. My husband attends as a referee every year since 2008. Every time he would return, he would be depressed for a few weeks. I was annoyed that he wasn’t happy to be back home with me. He said he couldn’t explain how every HWC impacted him. The first few hours of the first time I attended in 2015, I approached him and simply said, “Yep, I understand now”. To volunteer for this event and capture the emotions is an amazing privilege. It’s REAL.
How did you first get into photography?
I started out in photography from very young, even working in darkrooms and printing in one-hour photo labs back in the days of negatives. I started out with the usual photo shoots and did 10 years of weddings. They never felt real for me. I eventually started shooting local football when taking photos of my husband refereeing and got a genuine excitement of the raw emotions that I could capture in the players. 15 years on, I currently shoot for Australia’s most successful A-League football club, Melbourne Victory Football Club.
What, or who were your inspirations?
An absolute inspiration of mine is Mel Young. What he has created with the Homeless World Cup starting with the Big Issue has taken a lot of work and an incredible passion to help homeless people around the world. Homelessness looks different in every country. What an incredible feat.
Another person that is an inspiration of photographing at HWC was a photographer, Alex Walker. I was so inspired by his work. I ended up meeting him at the first HWC I attended in the Netherlands. He introduced himself at the airport and I was shocked. I expected a mature photographer with years of experience under his belt but he was only in his early 20s. Passion for what you do starts at any age. He’s now a pilot.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of taking up photography?
Anyone can be a photographer today. Today, there are millions of inspirations and tutorials online. Just feel your joy.