jueves, 26 de noviembre de 2015


                                                      © Lisl Steiner

September 23, 1960. Five days have elapsed since the arrival of Fidel Castro in New York as chief of the Cuban delegation that will be present during the XV Period of Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

From the very moment of his landing on the Idlewild (currently John Fitzgerald Kennedy) airport at 16:34 h in the afternoon of September 18, 1960, the excitement brought about by the presence of the Cuban Revolution leader in New York has been huge, and besides, some contexts of high tension have happened when the Cuban delegation lodged at the Shelburne Hotel — located at 37 street and Lexington Avenue — have been made get away after being within it for one day.

Following some hours of unsuccessful searching for a new hotel and on realizing that the owners of different hotels of downtown New York refused to put them up, Fidel Castro stated that if things kept going on that way, the Cuban delegation would pitch tents in the gardens facing the United Nations building to sleep inside them at night.

The piece of news spread like wildfire all over the city, until the Afroamerican owner of Hotel Theresa, placed on 125th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem, offered free accommodation to the whole Cuban delegation made up by roughly 40 people, and which reached that hotel at 23:30 h in the night of September 20, 1960, after being received by Dag Hammarskjold, General Secretary of the United Nations.

A few days later, during the night of September 23, 1960, Fidel Castro and Nikita Kruschev have just gone down into the street by the Georgian mansion located in Park Avenue 680 — one of the four ones belonging to the Pyne-Davison Row building placed between East 68th and East 69th Streets— , which has been the headquarters of the Soviet United Nations delegation since 1947 and is likewise now the lodging venue of the Soviet delegation headed by Nikita Kruschev throughout his visit to New York to also attend to the XV Period of Sessions of the United Nations.

The Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev has invited Fidel Castro to have dinner inside this mansion at Park Avenue 680 and now both of them are on the street, surrounded by Soviet secret agents of Kruschev´s security service and some members of the Cuban delegation who simultaneously perform the task of protecting Fidel Castro, also being abundant the presence of journalists, photographers and a large audience of gathering thrilled people.

Fidel Castro rustles up a speech addressed to all the attendees, which significantly raises the emotional intensity of the moment.

Lisl Steiner at Vienna Stephansdomplatz in 2015, fifty-five years after getting her historical picture of Fidel Castro on September 23,1960 in New York. Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

The photographer Lisl Steiner, who works as a freelance for Life, Time, O Cruzeiro and Keystone Press Agency is very near, with her 24 x 36 mm format Leica rangefinder camera coupled to a 50 mm lens and loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film.

It´s not easy to get pictures in this environment, since as well as the noticeable excitement created, stress is maximum, because the Soviet secret agents of the security service watch closely to prevent anybody from approaching the Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev or the Soviet foreign affairs minister Andrei Gromiko who is standing just after him.

On the other hand, it is even more difficult to approach Fidel Castro, who is standing beside Raúl Roa ( Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations) and is being protected from close up by two high rank men of the Cuban delegation, who have been guerrilla fighters in the war against the dictator Batista for many years, feature abundant combat experience on the front lines and simultaneously perform tasks of Fidel´s bodyguards: major Juan Almeyda and captain Antonio Núñez Jiménez, who have positioned one on each side of Fidel Castro and have got the mission of neutralizing any attempt of aggression or assassination, for it is feared that a possible attempt against the life of the Cuban revolution leader can occur.

Both of them are men of the highest confidence for Fidel.

Juan Almeyda is one of the topmost guerrilla fighting commanders of the Cuban army, took part along with Fidel in the assault on Moncada Headquarters in 1953 and directed with Ernesto Che Guevara the defense of the 81 expediotionary guerrilla fighters under the command of Fidel Castro who were encircled in the Alegría de Pío engagement of 1956, subsequently participating in a number of combats in Sierra Maestra against Batista´s forces, being named by Fidel Chief of the III Eastern Front and the Santiago de Cuba Column.

On his turn, Antonio Núñez Jiménez, who is 37 years old at the moment,is a prestigious Cuba scientist — founder of the Cuban Speleological Society in 1940, a University of La Habana Ph.D in 1951 and member of the National Speleological Society of United States since 1956, turned into a revolutionary guerrilla fighter in the warfare against Batista. He´s fought under the command of Ernesto Che Guevara during the campaign of liberation of central Cuba in 1958, has been Ernesto Che Guevara´s assistant captain in the fortress of La Cabaña throughout 1959, is Director of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform since 1959 and has been the Director of the Camilo Cienfuegos Artillery School for a few months.

                                                        © Lisl Steiner

Lisl Steiner has managed to climb up to a bit elevated position, striving after photographing Fidel Castro, on whose left side are Raúl Roa and Antonio Núñez Jiménez, while Nikita Kruschev and Andrei Gromyko are on his right, and Juan Almeyda is located slightly behind, on the right of the leader of the Cuban revolution.

Lisl Steiner realizes that it is the adequate moment and shoots, getting a great picture capturing Fidel Castro clad in his typical olive green military fatigues while delivering his speech and holding his cap with his right hand.

Bearing in mind the circumstances, it is a remarkable photograph, because in addition, the powerful supporting lamp of a 16 mm movie camera handled by an operator located very near Fidel incides strongly on the countenance of the Cuban leader and particularly on Nikita Kruschev and Andrei Gromyko, albeit it renders in shadow the right side of the faces of Antonio Núñez Jiménez, Raúl Roa and Kiril Trofimovich Mazurov (First Secretary of the Byelorussian Communist Party, who is wearing a black tuxedo and tie along with a striped white shirt and is placed behind Núñez Jiménez and Roa and is paying attention to Kruschev and Gromyko), which adds impact to this exceedingly representative image in which the photographer has masterfully captured the very special atmosphere of the moment during those historical instants, as well as choosing a medium diaphragm — probably f/5.6 — and a slow shutter speed that has enabled her to get plenty of depth of field and tremulous depiction of Fidel Castro´s left hand in motion while he is speaking.

The sharpness, contrast and very beautiful image aesthetics delivered by the non aspherical Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 are really impressive for the time.

Anyway, in this kind of photojournalistic pictures the key factors are not the technical ones, but the photographer´s experience, to be at the right moment in the right place, to approach as much as possible to the subject and the timing accuracy on pressing the shutter release button of the camera, fundamental ingredients to create a good image that have often been explained by this acclaimed photographer who besides proving her prowess and mettle, has attained a further accomplishment: none of the sixteen persons appearing in this first-rate graphic document of the Twentieth Century history is looking at the camera.


The picture of Fidel Castro made by Lisl Steiner is both a great photograph and a very important historical image taken in the middle of much more stressful and difficult conditions that it could seem at first glance, because the photographer had to fight not only to approach as much as possible to the subject, but also to keep  out of the frame two cinema camera operators (16 mm and 35 mm respectively) who were exceedingly near Fidel, filming him, and another photographer likewise very near the Cuban leader and who was using a large format 4 x 5 Speed Graphic camera coupled to a Graflex III cell flash emitting a powerful burst of light.

Some frames shot by the 16 mm movie camera provide a glimpse of the conditions under which Lisl Steiner had to do the picture and the great security measures around Fidel Castro and Nikita Kruschev.

Text and Indicated Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza


The Ducati Desmocedici GP15 is the most powerful and fastest motorcycle in MotoGP category. Period.

This masterpiece of Italian craftsmanship also featuring state-of-the-art electronics has been designed by the Italian genius engineer Gigi Dall´Igna, CEO of Ducati Corse, who has managed to attain a commendable and highly efficient balance between frame, engine and electronics, with the added bonus of a new and hugely improved powerplant — whose power, performance and reliability are far superior than the ones featured by the GP14 engine — , utterly and specifically conceived from scratch for the chassis of the new Ducati flagship, whose presentation on February 16, 2015 at the auditorium of the Ducati Borgo Panigale factory near Bologna (Italy) was one of the highlights of the year in MotoGP. with the attendance of Gigi Dall´Igna and the two official pilots who have driven the Ducati Desmosedici GP2015 hitherto: Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.

Among the most significant traits of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 must be underscored a smaller engine which has enabled a reduction in the size of the chassis, which is now shorter — it´s therefore a more compact and balanced motorbike than previous MotoGP Ducati models —, its many more adjustment choices, a tapering rear cowling sporting a reference-class gorgeous Akrapovic exhaust system, and particularly a much better overall behaviour and interaction between the frame, the very advanced Magneti Marelli ECU electronics programmed with Ducati factory software and the 1,000 cc liquid-cooled, 90º V4, four-stroke, evo desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder engine delivering more than 240 hp, without forgetting an optimized Ducati Seamless Transmission (DST) and chain final drive.

Anyway, the raison d´être of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 and the core of its amazing performance goes on being the desmodromic distribution system as a very efficient and practical device able to draw maximum power from an engine to reach incredible rpm rates out of the reach of spring devices and even beating the pneumatic valves in this regard.

Ducati has remained loyal to its history and tradition, striving after keeping its milestone desmodromic distribution, originally inspired by the desmodromic systems of the 1954-55 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula One racing car and the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR sports racing car, but whose father regarding its implementation in motorbikes engines was a remarkable achievement carried out in 1956 by the Ducati engineer Fabio Tagloni when he created a desmodromic valve system for the Ducati 125 Grand Prix.

                               Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

And from then to the present time, the legendary Italian brand has been successful steadily improving this highly proved mechanism featuring great complexity and very high production cost but delivering an impressive behaviour, particularly at the highest speeds in straight stretches of the circuits, along with a formidable acceleration ability in exceedingly short elapses of time during races, a remarkable minimization of energy loss, a praiseworthy uniformity in performance curves and historical and unforgettable feats in MotoGP like the one accomplished by Casey Stoner when he won the World Championship MotoGP 2007 with the Ducati Desmosedici GP7, a dream machine which was a turning point in the history of the competition, since its engine reached around 19,500 rpm, roughly 1,500 rpm more than the powerplants of the MotoGP Hondas and Yamahas of that year.

62 years after the designing in 1953 by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, Carlo Crespi and sons — founders of Ducati in 1926— of the 98 cc Cavallino motorcycle presented at the Milan Show of that season, the first one produced by the Borgo Panigale firm, Ducati can look backwards with pride, because they have had the courage, ingenuity, resolve and passion to not only survive within the scope of the queen category of world motorbikes, but also to provide breathtaking and unforgettable moments in the History of MotoGP like the double overtake of Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi by Andrea Iannone during the Philip Island 2015 race, something which deserves very high accolades, because though bought in 2012 by the Volkswagen Audi division, Ducati is a small firm in comparison with Japanese industrial and technological giants like Honda and Yamaha with boundless resources, facilities and wherewithal of their own to constantly invest on research and new technologies, which turns to compete with them into something exceedingly difficult, with the added important factor of the great tuning of the Yamaha YZR-M1 developed since early 2004 by Valentino Rossi and adapted for his piloting style focused on reliability, smoothness and full control.

This has meant a significant dominance of Yamaha (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015) and Honda (2006, 2011, 2013 and 2014) in terms of MotoGP championships won, while Ducati has only been able to win one MotoGP Championship in 2007 with Casey Stoner and his Ducati Desmosedici GP7.

Probably, it couldn´t be other way, because in addition, throughout these eleven years, Ducati pilots have had to compete against five world-class pilots from other firms: Valentino Rossi (for most experts the best MotoGP pilot ever, champion in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 with Yamaha, besides his 2001, 2002 and 2003 championships with Honda), Nicky Hayden (champion in 2006 with Honda), Casey Stoner (champion in 2011, when he ran for Honda and won his second title), Jorge Lorenzo (champion in 2010, 2012 and 2015 with Yamaha) and Marc Márquez (champion in 2013 and 2014 with Honda).

But Ducati hasn´t ever given up, and by dint of the strenuous effort, illusion to spare and perseverance of a great group of professionals featuring tremendous knowledge and experience ( Marco Palmerini - Ducati test team manager - , Fabiano Sterlacchini - Track Technical Coordinator - , Michele Pirro - Ducati MotoGP test rider-, Paolo Ciabatti - Ducati Corse Sporting Director - , Davide Tardozzi - Team Supervisor -, Luigi Dall´Igna - Ducati Corse General Manager - , the electronic engineers Dario Massarin and Tommaso Pagano, the data analyst Federico Poli, the track engineer Massimo Bartolini, Christian Pupulin and Marco Rigamonti, the vehicle dynamics engineer Riccardo Savin, the öhlins suspension technicians Peter Bergvall and Giacomo Massaroto, the software and strategies manager Gabriele Conti, the track technical coordinator Fabiano Sterlacchini, the chief machanics Michele Perugini and Marco Ventura, the mechanics Enrico Samperi, Fabio Rovelli, Mark Elder, Massimo Tognacci, Ivan Brandi, Michele Bubbolini, Lorenzo Canestrari, Giuliano Poleti and others), working very hard and taking the Desmosedici concept to its utmost, both regarding motorcycle and engine, it has been possible to create a formidable MotoGP thoroughbred:

The Ducati Desmosedici GP15, with which the Italian firm has attained nothing less than seven podiums during the MotoGP World Championship 2015: the three runner-ups (Losail Circuit in Qatar, Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina and Austin in United States), the third position in Silverstone (United Kingdom) on a wet track and the third position in Le Mans (France) made by Andrea Dovizioso, along with the runner-up in Mugello (Italy) and the third position attained by Andrea Iannone in Philip Island (Australia) with the aforementioned historical double overtake of Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi which dumbfounded not only the millions of enthusiasts of MotoGP watching the race on TV but also the specialized press.

This provides an insight of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15´s great potential as a very competitive motorbike, which was proved by Andrea Dovizioso during his fierce battle with Valentino Rossi in Austin, after The Doctor passed him on lap 8, enduring the Yamaha pilot onslaught, managing to recover, overtaking Valentino on lap 16 and wisely handling his pace, energy and the softer than the rest chosen tyres.

Luigi Dall´Igna has developed a new approach in Ducati, creating a first-class team of experts in every department who share a common unutterable motivation, and 2016 could be a turning point year for this dreaming motorbike, particularly if they can improve the performance in braking and traction, a scope in which the Yamahas and Hondas really excel with a great behaviour and response on cornering.

Whatever it may be, the synergy between the tremendous expertise in desmodromic valve operation featured by Ducati engineers, mechanics and technicians and the economical cash flow provided by Audi has began paying off, and evidence suggest that next year could be an even better MotoGP season for Ducati, with really high possibilities of winning at least one race or even more, as well as achieving many podiums once more.

viernes, 20 de noviembre de 2015


                                                         © Lisl Steiner

1977. Trainingshalle des Klubhauses von New York Cosmos.

Franz Beckenbauer - der bei Cosmos New York am 29. Mai 1977 zu spielen begann, von Bayern München kam und mit diesem Club im Jahr 1976 gespielt hatte, dort die Titel von sowohl der Bundesliga als auch der UEFA Champions League gewann und am 21. Dezember 1976 den FIFA-Klub-Weltmeisterschaft gegen Cruzeiro eroberte sowie die Ernennung zum Ballon d'Or 1976 als Spieler der deutschen Mannschaft errang - sitzt in der Badewanne und spricht mit Henry Kissinger, früherer Außenminister der Vereinigten Staaten - er gab sein Amt einige Monate zuvor auf, am 20. Januar 1977 - wo sich der Verteidiger Werner Roth ebenfalls im Wasser befindet.

Fünf Jahre sind seit der Ankunft von Edson Arantes do Nascimento „Pelé“ in den New York Cosmos Club der NASL (North American Soccer Association) der Vereinigten Staaten im Juni 1975 vergangen, eingestellt nach einer Verhandlungsdauer von fünf Jahren seitens Clive Toye (Hauptgeschäftsführer des New York Cosmos) und mit der finanziellen Unterstützung der Gebrüder Ahnet und Nesuhi Ertegun (Besitzer von Atlantic Records) und Steve Ross  (CEO [Vorstandsvorsitzender] von Time Warner Inc. und Warner Communications), wobei letzterer der entscheidende Mann bei den Bemühungen war, um den Fußball in eine wichtige Sportdisziplin in den USA zu verwandeln.

Die Anwesenheit Pelé‘s war für den wachsenden Zulauf der Zuschauer in die Stadien entscheidend, auch die Anstellung von Giorgio Chinaglia (zu jener Zeit einer der besten Stürmer der Welt) zur Verstärkung der Besetzung von Cosmos New York im Jahr 1976 zahlte sich aus, indem ein unerbittliches Angriffspaar mit Pelé geschaffen wurde und dabei
die Torchancen der Mannschaft zunahmen, was zur Schaffung des besten Fußballteams der USA führte.

Jedoch stellte der Verein während der Saison 1977-1978 zwei weitere Weltklasse-Spieler ein: Carlos Alberto (der große brasilianische Verteidiger, der Anteil an der historischen Mannschaft hatte, die im Endspiel der Weltmeisterschaft von Mexiko 1970 Italien mit 4 zu 1 besiegt hatte) und besonders Franz Beckenbauer, Kapitän sowohl von Bayern München der Bundesliga (dreimal Europameister) als auch deutscher Nationalmannschaft und der beste Libero der Welt, der nur drei Jahre zuvor die Weltmeisterschaft 1974 in Deutschland mit einem Sieg von 2 zu 1 im Finale gegen Holland gewonnen hatte.

Dies verwandelte den Club New York Cosmos zu eine wichtigen Fußballverein, der die NASL 1977 und 1988 gewann und zwar mit einem äußerst brillanten Spiel und vielen Toren.

Der Erwartungsgrad bezüglich Franz Beckenbauer unter den amerikanischen Fußballfans ist bisher hoch angesetzt und nur an zweiter Stelle nach den von Pelé, der vor drei Jahren im Jahr 1977 in den Ruhestand trat.

Die amerikanischen Fußballfans sind sich über die bemerkenswerten Leistungen von Beckenbauer im Laufe seiner Karriere als Erfinder der Rolle des angreifenden Liberos aus dem Herzen der Verteidigung ausgehend voll bewußt: seine außerordentliche Leistung während der Viertelfinale der Weltmeisterschaft von Mexiko 1970 gegen England, die entscheidend für den Sieg von 3 zu 2 in der Nachspielzeit, nach einer Überwindung von einem 0:2-Stand war, auch die unvergeßliche Halbfinale der WM 1970 in Mexiko gegen Italien, als er den Arm in einer Schlinge trug.

Daher wurde in den Jahren 1978 und 1979 bei den Austragungen von New York Cosmos im Giants Stadium eine durchschnittliche Anwesenheit von etwa 47.000 Zuschauern verzeichnet, eine erstaunliche Zahl für ein Land, in dem NBA-Basketball, Football und Eishockey weit verbreitete Sportarten sind.

Lisl Steiner auf den Stufen des Hotels Kaiserin Elisabeth von Wien (Österreich) im Jahr 2015, 35 Jahre nachdem sie die Aufnahmen von Franz Beckenbauer als Spieler vom Fußballverein New York Cosmos der NASL (National American Soccer Association) machte und mit denen sie die Titeln von 1977, 1978 und 1980 gewann. Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza.

Die Fotografin Lisl Steiner schaffte es, in den Umkleideraum des Clubs zu treten und sich so weit wie möglich an die Männer zu nähern.

Lisl Steiner beobachtet sie einige Sekunden lang, bis sie sich in Richtung Beckenbauer als Hauptmotiv im Hintergrund begibt, während der deutsche Spieler sein Gespräch mit Henry Kissinger fortsetzt.

Es ist überhaupt nicht einfach zu fotografieren, weil die Anwesenheit einer Frau in einem Umkleideraum für Männer etwas ungewöhnlich ist, also es ist praktisch nicht möglich unbemerkt zu bleiben und trotzdem bemüht sie sich, sie unbemerkt, ohne daß sie in die Kamera blicken, einzufangen und bekommt ein gutes Bild.

Sie kannte Henry Kissinger seit Ende der sechziger Jahre, als sie ihn im Gebäude der Vereinten Nationen in New York, während einer Reihe politischer Versammlungen, fotografierte

Ihre große Erfahrung und Geduld sind von grundlegender Bedeutung für die besten Momente, um den Auslöser ihrer Leica M2 Messsucherkamera, mit einem 35-mm-Objektiv gekoppelt, zu drücken.

Plötzlich taucht ein Moment des Gesprächs auf, in dem Franz Beckenbauer   mit entschlossenem Gesicht und geschlossener rechten Faust Henry Kissinger fest anblickt, während Werner Roth sichtlich erschöpft und vertieft wirkt.

Kissinger, ein großer Fußballanhänger, wurde in Fürth ( Bayern) geboren und ist ein großer Fan von Bayern München und sah zum ersten Mal Franz Beckenbauer während der  deutschen WM 1974 im Endspiel im Münchner Olympiastadion spielen, als das Gastland mit einem entscheidenden Tor von Gerd Müller gewann. Außerdem spielte er zwischen den Jahren 1971 und 1974 bei den Verhandlungen mit Pelé eine bedeutende diplomatische Rolle bis endlich erreicht wurde, Pelé zum Spielen in die Vereinigten Staaten zu bringen - eine Operation, bei der Steve Ross und Clive Toye die wichtigsten Personen waren - und wurde ein regelmäßiger Besucher des Umkleideraums vom Cosmos New York seit Anfang der Blütezeit des Clubs ab Mitte der siebziger Jahre als persönlicher Freund von Pelé, Beckenbauer und anderen berühmten Spielern des Vereins.

Hier scheint der Moment des Gesprächshöhepunktes zwischen Kissinger und Beckenbauer stattzufinden, der voller Energie und Illusion zu sein wirkt.

Lisl Steiner stellt fest, daß der entscheidende Augenblick gekommen ist und drückt schnell auf den Auslöser ihrer Kamera und verursacht dabei ein schwaches Geräusch des Auslösers, kaum hörbar, was die Diskretion der Fotoaufnahme stark erhöht, da eine Kamera mit Entfernungsmesser der eigenen Schwenkspiegel in den DSLR-Kameras entbehrt... und erzielt eine ausgezeichnete Aufnahme bei der erfolgreichen Wahrnehmung, während jener entscheidenden Sekundenbruchteile unentdeckt zu bleiben und beim Festhalten der beidseitig gezeigten Aufmerksamkeit zwischen Kissinger und Beckenbauer bei der Unterhaltung.

Text und Bilder: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015


                                                       © Lisl Steiner

1977. Training room of the New York Cosmos clubhouse.

Franz Beckenbauer — who has began playing with New York Cosmos on May 29, 1977, coming from Bayern Munich with which he has played during 1976, winning both Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and Intercontinental Cup on December 21, 1976 against Cruzeiro, as well as being named Ballon d´Or 1976 as a player of the German team — is in the bathtub talking to Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State of the United States — he had left office a few months before, on January 20, 1977 — , while the defender Werner Roth is also resting in the water.

Five years have elapsed since the arrival of Edson Arantes Do Nascimento "Pelé" to United States New York Cosmos club of the NASL (North American Soccer Association) in June 1975, hired by Clive Toye (General Manager of New York Cosmos) after five years of negotiations with the financial support of the brothers Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun (owners of Atlantic Records) and Steve Ross (CEO of Time Warner Inc. and Warner Communications), the latter being the key man in the effort to turn soccer into a major sport within USA.

The presence of Pelé has been decisive to greatly increase the attendance of people to the stadiums, and the hiring of Giorgio Chinaglia (at the moment one of the best forwards in the world) to reinforce the New York Cosmos line-up in 1976 paid off, making up a lethal attack binomium with Pelé and significantly raising the scoring ability of the team, which has become the best soccer squad in USA.

But during the 1977-1978 season, the club hired two more world class players: Carlos Alberto (the great Brazilian defender who was part of the historical team that defeated Italy 4-1 in the final match of the Mexico 1970 Football World Cup) and particularly Franz Beckenbauer, captain of both Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga (three times champion of Europe) and the German national team and the best sweeper in the world, who only three years before has won the Germany 1974 World Cup, beating Holland 2-1 in the final game.

It turned the New York Cosmos into a great soccer club that won the NASL in 1977 and 1978, with a very brilliant play and scoring a lot of goals.

The level of great buzz built by Franz Beckenbauer among the American soccer enthusiasts has been huge hitherto, and only second to the one generated by Pelé, who retired in 1977, three years ago.

The American fans are utterly aware of the remarkable feats accomplished by Beckenbauer throughout his career as an inventor of the role of attacking sweeper starting from the heart of the defense: his extraordinary performance in the quarterfinals of Mexico 1970 World Cup against England being decisive for the German victory 3-2 in extra time after superating a 0-2, the unforgettable semifinal of the Mexico 1970 facing Italy playing with his arm on a sling, the UEFA Eurocup 1972 and 1974 FIFA World Cup won with Germany, the three consecutive UEFA Champions League trophies won with Bayern Munich (1974, 1975, 1976) and the Intercontinental Cup won in 1976.

Therefore, in 1978 and 1979, the average attendance to the Giants Stadium to watch New York Cosmos live has been roughly 47,000 spectators, an amazing figure for a country in which basketball, baseball, American football and ice hockey are much more widespread sports.

Lisl Steiner at the stairs of the Elizabeth Kaiserin Hotel in Vienna (Austria) in 2015, thirty-five years after getting the pictures of Franz Beckenbauer as a player of the New York Cosmos soccer club of the NASL (National American Soccer Association) with which he won the titles of 1977, 1978 and 1980. Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

The photographer Lisl Steiner has managed to get into the training room of the New York Cosmos clubhouse and approaches the three men as much as possible.

Lisl Steiner keeps observing them for some seconds, until she moves to have Beckenbauer as main subject in the background while the German player goes on speaking with Henry Kissinger.

It´s not an easy shot at all, because the presence of a woman inside a men´s locker room is something unusual, so it´s virtually impossible to go unnoticed, and in spite of it, she strives after catching them unaware not looking at the camera, and get a good picture.

She has known Henry Kissinger since late sixties when she photographed him at the United Nations building in New York during a number of political meetings.

Her great experience and patience are fundamental to wait for the best moment to press the shutter release button of her Leica M2 rangefinder camera coupled to a 35 mm lens.

Suddenly, a moment of the conversation comes in which Franz Beckenbauer is staring at Henry Kissinger with resolve in his countenance and his right fist closed, while Werner Roth is visibly exhausted and engrossed.

Kissinger is a great football enthusiast, born in Fürth (Baviera), played as a goalkeeper when he was a teenager, is a great fan of Bayern Munich and saw Franz Beckenbauer play for the first time in the Germany World Cup 1974 final game held at the Munich Olympiastadion and won 2-1 by the host country with decisive goal by Gerd Müller. Besides, he performed a significant diplomatic role in the years of negotiations with Pelé between 1971 and 1975 until attaining to bring him to play in United States — an operation in which Steve Ross and Clive Toye were the key persons — and had become a regular visitor to the Cosmos New York locker-room since the beginning of his heyday years in mid seventies, being a personal friend of Pelé, Beckenbauer and other famous players of the club.

This seems to be the climax instant of the conversation between Kissinger and Beckenbauer, who appears brimming with energy and illusion.

Lisl Steiner realizes it is a defining moment and quickly presses the shutter release button of her camera, bringing about a whispering noise of the shutter release button, almost imperceptible, which greatly enhances the discretion of the photographic act, because a rangefinder camera lacks the swivelling mirror inherent to dslr cameras, and gets a very good picture, successfully passing undetected during that decisive fraction of a second and masterly capturing the intense mutual paying of attention between Kissinger and Beckenbauer while talking.

lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015


Though Pelé and Maradona are considered the best football players of all time, Zinedine Zidane has probably been the most elegant player in the history of this sport, with an amazing individual technique, vision of the game, scoring ability, unmatched class in his movements, immense talent for assisting his best located teammates, innate talent for yielding dream plays with filigree and many other qualities that made him win the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, the Football World Cup 1998, the UEFA Eurocup 2000,  the UEFA Champions League 2001-2002, the Intercontinental Cups 1996 and 2002, the UEFA Supercups 1996 and 2002, the Italian Supercup 1997, the Italian Serie A 1996-97 and 1997-98, the Spanish Supercup 2001 and 2003 and the Spanish League 2002-2003.

An HD video featuring a comprehensive array of his best plays can be watched here.

Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2015


                                  © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

The worldwide exhibition Genesis featuring 250 selected black and white images is the culmination of a photographic project made by Sebastiao Salgado throughout eight years — 2004-2012 — researching, exploring and feeling nature´s unspoiled legacy — still around 46% of the total —, a visual homage to the Earth which has already become a landmark event in the History of Photography, having achieved a worldwide tremendous success since its very premiere at the London´s Natural History Museum on April 11, 2013, not only in terms of massive attendance of visitors, but particularly regarding the enhancement of social awareness as to the necessity of preserving the planet natural shrines and indigenous communities he has photographed in 32 different countries, drawing attention to both fragile landscapes and endangered people that must be saved, as well as inspiring action for their safekeeping.

Fishing in the Piyulaga Lake, High Xingú, Mato Grosso (Brazil).         © Sebastiao Salgado / Amazonas Images


                                          © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Seals beside a penguin colony in the South Shetland Islands.            © Sebastiao Salgado / Amazonas Images 

The conceptual core of the Genesis Project has been a new approach in which the animal and plant world along with the indigenous people became the epicenter of the photographic activity, unlike Salgado´s well-known previous long-term projects Sahel (1986), Workers (1993), Terra (1997), Migrations (2000) and The Children (2000), whose main characters were human beings, a steady exploration of displaced populations and the relentless working conditions endured by men and women around the world, depicting the influence of walloping dire situations on the individual lives of refugees, nomads, exiles, all kind of workers, etc, as a humanist in search of social justice and using photography as a way to speak.

But in Genesis, the photographic recreation of life cycle in an exceedingly comprehensive assortment of animal, vegetal and mineral creatures becomes the raison d´être, which has resulted in a fabulous exhibition having enthralled millions of spectators all over the world through the capturing of the breathtaking beauty of nature in places of the planet that haven´t been touched by man yet, something attained by dint of constant huge endeavours made between 2004 and 2012 in a number of different areas of the world belonging to the five continents, a powerful quest for the world as it was and a plea to heal the planet from the increasing gap between man and nature brought about by modern life.

                                          © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

                                             © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

This way, both the attendees to this stunning exhibition curated by Lélia Wanick and the readers of its catalogue book published by Taschen Verlag can watch top-notch black and white pictures showing amazing landscapes of pristine places continuing to flourish and divided into five chapters: a) Planet South showing the Galápagos Islands with species of animals like iguanas, giant turtles, sea lions, cormorans and penguins in the same areas visited by Darwin during his trip with the Beagle ship in XIX century, as well as the whales in the Antarctic and the South Atlantic, the icebergs between  Paulet Island and South Shetland Islands in Weddell Sea in Antarctic Peninsula, etc; b) Sanctuaries depicting isolated areas with a rich diversity of species, such as Sumatra, Madagascar and West Papua, photographing the Korowai tribe as well as the inhabitants of the Mentawai Islands; c) Africa, showing lions, leopards, elephants and mountain gorillas of Rwanda, the Algeria sand dunes, the Okavango river in Botswana, the Dinka nomads in Sudan, the Mursi and Surma women of the Jinka area in Ethiopia (the last ones wearing lip plates); d) Northern Spaces with herds of reindeers in the Arctic Circle, the Colorado Plateau, the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, the Nenets in Siberia, the Brooks Range in Alaska and the people living on the ice with their sledges, dogs and tents in the northern areas of Canada; and e) Amazonia, presenting alligators and jaguars, the Amazon, Negro and Juruá rivers, the Zo´é and Yanomami people in the jungles of Brazil, etc.

                                              © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

                                          © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Genesis has been making its way around the museums all over the world, displaying the sublime black and white king size prints on baryta paper for three years hitherto: at the London´s Natural History Museum, United Kingdom (April 11, 2013 - September 8, 2013), at the Royal Ontario Museum of Canada (4 May – 2 Sep 2013), at the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, United States (29 Jun – 30 Nov 2013), at the Galerie Huit in Arles, France (1 Jul – 26 Jul 2013), at the Musee d L´ Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (20 Sep 2013 – 5 Jan 2014), at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, France (25 Sep 2013 – 5 Jan 2014), at  the CaixaForum Madrid, Spain ( January 17- May 4, 2014), at the Palazzo della Ragioni in Milan, Italy (27 Jun – 2 Nov 2014), at the Fotografiska Museum Stadsg in Stockholm, Sweden; at the Polka Gallery in Paris, France (8 Nov - 20 Dec 2014), at the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, United States (11 Dec 2014 – 24 Jan 2015), at the International Center of Photography in New York, United States (September 19, 2014 - January 11, 2015), at the CaixaForum Barcelona, Spain (October 23, 2014 - February 8, 2015), at the C/O Berlin Foundation, Germany (April 18, 2015 - August 16, 2015), and it will also be held at the Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung in Munich, Germany Oct 9, 2015 – January 24, 2016).

                                           © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Iceberg between Paulet Island and South Shetland Islands in the Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula. © Sebastiao Salgado / Amazonas Images

From scratch, the whole monumental project Genesis has been presided by a key factor: the search for the best feasible black and white negatives from which getting superb large size prints on baryta paper for exhibitions.

As a matter of fact, this has been a constant feature throughout Sebastiao Salgado´s career, with the photographer having always had a great penchant for the use of the mythical Kodak Tri-X 400 b & w 35 mm film as his emulsion of choice — he also used Kodak T-Max 3200, though in a much lesser percentage — in synergy with some Leica R6.2 cameras (coupled to 35 mm f/2, 60 mm f/2.8 Macro and 70-180 mm f/2.8 zoom) and Leica M6 cameras (attached to 28 mm f/2.8, 35 mm f/2 and 50 mm f1.4) with which he got outstanding results in all his aforementioned long term projects made between around 1986 and 2004, with a unique and distinctive aesthetic appearance in his images, drawing the utmost from the remarkable potential of Kodak Tri-X 400 film in terms of acutance and formidable rendering of the full gray scale tonal ranges, fairly visible in the prints of his travelling exhibitions which have enraptured audiences for more than thirty years.

Even, he was able to greatly improve the already excellent Kodak D-76 developer, modifying its chemical elements and composition, getting a bit more grey Kodak Tri-X 400 negatives featuring far better detail, specially in the shadow areas, years before Stéphane Cormier, magician of Kodak D-76, managed to get optimum results with Kodak Tri-X 400 in low key areas and mid tones prolonging the development time to create exceedingly rich negatives.

But when thinking about the great possibilities of the Genesis Project with respect to future exhibitions once it was completed, Sebastiao Salgado did want the best possible prints, since he concedes paramount significance to the technical area, because it is what will enable him to restitute all the emotions and feeelings experienced during the photographic act through the quest for the creation of a perfect negative delivering the densities and complete tonal values he does pine for, along with lavish detail in low key areas.

And because of its format dimensions of 24 x 36 mm surface, the 35 mm negatives have got limitations in big sizes of prints intended for exhibitions.
That´s why during the first stage of the Genesis Project, between 2004 and 2008, Salgado chose an analog Pentax 645 medium format camera, whose 6 x 4,5 cm negative is 270% larger than a 35 mm one, so the rendering of full grayscale range, sharpness and possibilities of making very big prints with an accurate translation of what the photographer really experienced and saw during the unique and magic moment in which he pressed the shutter realease button of his camera and got the picture, are far superior.

Consequently, the medium format black and white 6 x 4.5 cm exposed negatives were digitized with an Imacon scanner and top-notch results were attained through a lot of toil, effort and tests, because it was not possible to use medium format Kodak Tri-X 400 film (only available in 120 rolls with capacity for 16 shots) and the Amazonas Agency team was forced to use Kodak Tri-X 320 film in 220 rolls, enabling 32 shots but whose sensitometric traits are less suitable to reportage than the classic Kodak Tri-X 400, so it is more difficult to work with it in contrejour photographs and when pushing.

But the X-rays controls at the airports all over the world brought about a lot of risks and even some damaged medium format 220 rolls, because they lack the metallic cans featured by the 35 mm films.

At the same time, the maelstrom of digital photography had taken the Genesis Project in its intermediate stage and in 2008 it was apparent that the stocks of analog medium format films and photographic papers would quickly start being scarce.
This way, Sebastiao Salgado, Lélia Wanick and the Amazonas Agency team decided to implement the transition from analog to digital photography, and from then on, a 21 megapixel digital full frame Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III was used to get the rest of the pictures of the Genesis Project until 2012, because of the great image quality it delivered, even at very high sensitivities, a pretty wide slew of professional lenses available, a stunning versatility and a further key advantage: it used digital cards able to hold a much higher quantity of shots (many hundreds) than an analog 220 medium format roll (thirty-two 6 x 4.5 cm shots) with a much lower weight, and the airports X-ray checks didn´t harm them.

But Sebastiao Salgado has got an exceedingly high standard of quality with epicenter in the final prints and whose production stages he has always personally checked in a very painstaking way, controlling everything from beginning to end, and with photography on paper as a fundamental keynote, so he doesn´t want to see the pictures on a computer screen, preferring to keep on with his traditional and very reliable system of creating thousands of 13 x 18 cm baryta paper reading copies chosen from contact sheets.

The RAW digital archives achieved with the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III are excellent regarding sharpness and contrast, but Salgado wants to get with digital photography analog results comparable to the very special image aesthetics, grain and superb tonal range and level of detail and microcontrast in shadows that he has achieved with the Kodak Tri-X 400 b & w film for thirty years.

                                            © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

                                            © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

And this becomes a conundrum, since Kodak Tri-X 400 is along with Kodachrome film virtually impossible to emulate with digital archives and only the firm DXO Film Pack has approached something to it until now.

It is a turning point in the Genesis Project that as has been thoroughly explained by Philippe Bachelier (great French photographer who has published his works in such prestigious magazines as Le Monde, Los Angeles Times, L´Equip Magazine and others, a highly experienced professional in black and white and photographic technique, both in the argentic and digital domains, great maker of selenium toned baryta paper prints and a pundit in darkroom, who developed most of Sebastiao Salgado´s medium format films of the Project Genesis between 2004 and 2008) is going to be solved by the synergy between the permanent supervision by Sebastiao Salgado and the work of a formidable group of French experts in analog image, digital image, classic darkroom and two first class photographic laboratories in Paris chosen by him.

This great team is made up by Valérie Hue (she worked as a Magnum Agency printer in Paris throughout 24 years between 1983 and 2007, in collaboration with a number of foremost photographers, as well as being an authority in treatment of digital images), Olivier Jamin, Adrien Bouillon (a highly experienced professional printer, maker of the 13 x 18 cm reading copies for Salgado and featuring a deep knowledge of both analog printing and Mac computer visualization of images), Marcia Navarro Mariano (an outstanding picture editor featuring great prowess in the supervision of the different stages from the downloading of RAW archives into computers to the handling of Lightroom, encoding of images and their printing in contact sheets), Dominique Granier (one of the best printers in the world, who made the final king size prints on baryta paper from the 4 x 5 " negatives for the Genesis exhibitions as well as the reference and collection ones), Imaginoir laboratory in Paris and Dupon laboratory (also in the French capital).

And the symbiosis between Sebastiao Salgado, Lélia Wanick     ( a driving force in herself as a curator and organizer of the Genesis exhibition as well as being the producer of the book edited by Taschen ) and this amazing group of French experts in digital and analog photography alike has enabled to attain an impressive feat: to reproduce the exact grain of the chemical Kodak Tri-X 400 film — the black and white emulsion with which Salgado has worked all of his life — in the digital image, generating a very similar working way to the one he had implemented throughout his previous thirty years as an analog photographer, now recording everything on digital cards instead of film rolls, but having contact sheets and prints on paper made for him and creating large format 4 x 5 (10 x 12 cm) b & w negatives from the selected pictures originally generated as digital RAW archives.

                                           © Jose Manuel Serrano Esparza

Therefore, Salgado doesn´t need to watch a computer screen, the digital camera back, levels, histograms, curves, etc, and will go on doing things according to his experience and superb photographic eye and sight, working with contact sheets and reading copies, editing with a loupe, and with the strength and impact of the pictures on paper as a cornerstone of his way to understand photography, steadily pining for a perfect copy on baryta paper made with a state-of-the-art enlarger for worldwide exhibitions as a fundamental goal and a printing philosophy deeply rooted in the keynotes set forth in early fifties by the legendary print master Georges Fèvre and Pierre Gassman in Paris Picto Labs and enhanced from eighties by Jean-Yves Bregand — a master printer featuring a tremendous knowledge, able to balance the preservation of local transitions while simultaneously pushing contrast and densities in a gorgeous way — in Paris Imaginoir Labs.

Though starting with digital RAW archives, it is a method related to the almost 100% artisan working way embodied by the cream of the crop of the historical top-notch yielders of prints using analog classic darkroom, printers and black and white films through a tremendous knowledge and experience along with painstaking and toilsome effort and many hours or even days work in laboratory until getting the perfect copy with each picture: Pierre Gassman, Georges Fèvre, Ansel Adams, Eugene Smith, Bruce Barnaum, Pablo Inirio, Teresa Engle Moreno, Igor Bakht, Voja Mitrovic, Georges Fevre, Giulietta Verdon-Roe, David Vestal, Nathalie Lopparelli, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, Dominique Granier and others, because the Amazonia team has attained to increasingly improve a kind of hybrid system which uses digital RAW archives to begin with, but subsequently has the concept of haptic photograph and film like quality as a mainstay, with the immense possibilities of control and thoroughness provided by digital photography in spite of the amazing fact that most of the working stages are analog and conceptually linked to current great photographers still using Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film and developing it in classic chemical laboratory like Kosuke Okahara, who creates contact sheets and steadily makes and verifies a lot of test prints, subsequently having his gorgeous darkroom prints acanned to creat first-rate big digital archives enabling the manufacturing of very large copies for exhibitions.

                                            © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Genesis is probably the most colossal photographic project ever made along with Eugene Smith´s Pittsburgh, whose brutal level of exactness and virtually unattainable standards of quality and accuracy in the restitution of the photographic act to express his ideas about the world go on being one of the most significant benchmarks in the scope of documentary photography ever, in the same way as Ansel Adams keeps on being a yardstick in the landscape sphere with the extraordinary prints he got using 4 x 5 large format cameras, Kodak Tri-X 400 LF film and Kodak HC-110 developer.

Albeit taking advantage of different technical paths, cameras and materials, both Salgado´s Genesis Project and Ansel Adams´s legendary pictures shared a common fundamental aim fostered by their meticulous eye: the creation of the best feasible prints in large sizes, oozing exceptional tonal nuances and level of detail in shadows from 4 x 5 negatives as a form of visual communication and developing printing techniques to match their respective visions, personally supervising and utterly controlling every stage to assure that their images convey the intended meaning.

                                           © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Throughout a significant percentage of his career, Salgado has photographed a myriad of contexts of both human and environmental degradation and destruction: migrations of people suffering appalling life conditions, polluting factories, huge deposits of garbage, genocides like the one happened in Rwanda in 1994 with 2,000.000 people assassinated, lethal epidemies like cholera in the Rwandan refugee camp of Goma (Zaire) killing thousands of people daily, the pain, misery, frequent violence exerted on them by military police and very hard toil of Garimpeiros of Sierra Pelada (Brazil) manually extracting gold with very similar techniques to the ones used by the slaves of the XVIII Century mines and constantly taking very large and heavy bags full of sand on their backs while going up rather steep and dangerous ladders, the victims of famine in Ethiopia with massive presence of children with Kwashiorkor, the war in Afghanistan, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the Sudanese refugees fleeing from war, the displaced Ecuadorian farmers, the severe draught in Niger in 1973, and many others.

Too much suffering, too much havoc, too many persons living in dreadful conditions photographed and experienced live by Sebastiao Salgado during more than thirty years, which had a climax of desperation during his coverage of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, when he watched a lot of horrible things and thousands of people die, to such an extent that he became innerly despondent and only the constant support and strength of his wife and love of his life Lélia Wanick could prevent him from abandoning. 

That´s why when Sebastiao Salgado began tackling the Genesis Project in 2004 it meant a very significant turning point in his photographic career and existence and the possibility of seeing light at the end of the tunnel which had been the fullfilment of Exodus with all the ordeals and horror it meant and the much manmade sufferings he beheld.

The gorgeous Genesis Collector´s edition numbered and signed by Sebastiao Salgado. Conceived, edited and designed by Lélia Wanick Salgado, it is made up by two large size 46.8 x 70 cm volumes bound in quarter-leather and cloth. Along with the Amazonas Agency team made up by Sebastiao Salgado, Lélia Wanick Salgado and the aformentioned group of French experts on both darkroom and digital image, it has been important the help of sincere Salgado´s longtime friends like Miguel González Navarro, director of Contacto Photographic Agency and deep connoisseur of his work, who has made a praiseworthy strenuous effort to foster the Genesis exhibition in different cities.

Now it was about the concept of landscape as an alive being that had to be known to properly photograph it, to depict it in all of its splendor through the symbolic language of photography, to take part in its space with the aim of appealing to civilization to preserve the planet as much as possible in its original and fascinating diversity of sceneries, fauna, flora and indigene peoples.

He needed something to restore his faith in humanity and the Genesis Project turned into a kind of lifeline for him, to get empathy and a deep engagement with his subjects.to remain in the middle of natural locations for hours, blending with the landscapes, observing, framing and working the light to the utmost to reveal structures, textures, nuances, etc.

This way, the landscapes all over the world and in different seasons of the year became a bountiful source of chances to work with natural light, particularly when getting against the light pictures — his traditional hallmark making up vast majority of the photographs he makes — to greatly enhance contours and volumes, a side in which Salgado is a master.

Text and Indicated Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015



1977. Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento „Pelé“ hatte bereits im New York Cosmos Club der NASL (North American Soccer Association) seit zwei Jahren gespielt, nachdem er im Juni 1975 einen Dreijahresvertrag über 2,8 Millionen Dollar unterzeichnete, damals eine astronomische Zahl für einen Sportler. Er wurde von Ahmet und Nesuhi Ertegun verpflichtet, Gründer des Teams im Jahre 1970 zusammen mit Steve Ross, CEO (Vorstand) von Time Warner Inc. und Warner Communications, wirtschaftliche Hauptantriebskraft des Clubs, die ab der mythischen Weltmeisterschaft von Mexiko 1970 danach strebten, den Fußball in den  Vereinigten Staaten zu einer glänzenden Unterhaltung der Massen und des Sports zu führen, auf ähnlicher Weise wie NBA, NFL, MLB und NHL, wozu die Neuerwerbung von großen Legenden des internationalen Fußballs finanziert wurde, wie Pelé, Carlos Alberto, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia und andere.

Nach einem ersten Jahr der Anpassung, in dem Cosmos den dritten Platz in der United States Soccer League (Fußball-Liga der Vereinigten Staaten) erreichte, schaffte es Pelé den Club bis zur Spitze zu führen und wurde im Jahr 1976 zum MVP (wertvollster Spieler) der NASL ausgezeichnet und im Jahr 1977 mit dem New York Cosmos zum Meister erklärt und brachte beachtliche Leistungen auf den Fussballfeldern der Vereinigten Staaten. Er erzielte dabei 37 Tore, gab 30 Tor-Pässe und verursachte ein solches Erwartungsniveau und Massenandrang der Zuschauer zu den Spielen, daß es nötig wurde, das Downing Stadium im Jahr 1976 in das Yankee Stadium  umzutaufen und einige Monate später sogar zum Giants Stadion of New Jersey, wo im ganzen Jahr 1977 alle Spiele abgetragen wurden.

Pelé, der beste Fußballspieler aller Zeiten, drei Mal Weltmeister in Schweden 1958, Chile 1962 und 1970 in Mexico, der Mann, der mehr als 1.200 Tore in offiziellen Spielen erzielt hatte, der als erst 17-jähriger Teenager die Welt im Endspiel von Schweden 1958 verblüffte, als er nach der Kontrolle mit der Brust den Ball  in den schwedischen Kasten einnistete, oder wie er dem schwedischen Verteidiger Sven Axbom den stratosphärischen und unsterblichen Hut aufsetzte und mit einem Flachschuß den Torwart Sevensson schlug. Der Magier mit dem Ball, der mit Rivelino, Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson, Carlos Alberto, usw. den italienischen „catenazzo“ in der Finale der Fußballmeisterschaft von Mexiko 1970 vernichtete, der Spieler, der alle Zuschauerrekorde bei einem Fußballspiel in den USA am Tag seinen Debüts mit dem New York Cosmos gegen Dallas Tornado am 15. Juni 1976 schlug, das live von der CBS (TV) für 10 Millionen Zuschauern übertragen wurde. Und er, der in der Lage war, die Teilnahme der Fußballfans an den Fußballspielen der gesamten Vereinigten Staaten zu verdoppeln, ist bereits 36 Jahre alt  und seine berufliche Sportskarriere wird bald ein Ende finden.

Die Fotografin Lisl Steiner in der Blauen Bar des Hotels Sacher von Wien im Jahr 2015, 38 Jahre nach den Fotoaufnahmen von Pelé in New York.

Die Fotografin Lisl Steiner arbeitet als Fotojournalistin für die Keystone Press Agency und die New York Times; sie merkt daß „O Rei Pelé“ bereits an einer Seite des Spielfelds mit dem Rest seiner Mannschaftskollegen steht, kurz vor dem Anfang eines Spiels. 

Der brasilianische Spieler kehrt einige Sekunden lang in sich und sein Geist geht dabei die Erinnerungen und die erlebten Gefühle durch, die ein ganzen Lebens enthält, das in Tres Coraçoes (Minas Gerais) begann, wo er auf die Welt kam und seine Kindheit und seine Jugendjahre verbrachte, wo er unter den Bedingungen einer großen Armut aufwuchs. Er arbeitete als Teehaus-Bedienung in Bauru (Sao Paulo) und benutzte einen mit  Zeitungspapier ausgestopften Strumpf zum Fußballspielen, mit Stricken festgebunden und manchmal sogar  mit einem Granatapfel, da er nicht das nötige Geld für den Kauf eines Balles aufbringen konnte.

Lisl Steiner nähert sich ihm, ausgerüstet mit einer 24 x 36 mm Format Leica M3 Kamera mit Entfernungsmesser und mit einem Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Dual Range mit einer Vorrichtung von 7 Elementen in 6 Gruppen und zehn Lamellen. Sie stellt den Rahmen vertikal ein, drückt auf den Auslöseknopf ihrer Kamera und fängt eine grossartige Aufnahme ein, in der sie Pelé stark schwitzend nach dem Aufwärmen einfängt und in Gedanken vertieft ist und dessen Gesicht eine große emotionale Intensität widerspiegelt.

Das Binomium Leica M3 + 50-mm-Objektiv, die Brennweite für die diese hervorragende Kamera ist dank ihrer außergewöhnlichen 0,92x Suchervergrösserung optimiert ist (dessen Glanz, Schärfe und Kontrast bisher von keiner anderen Fotokamera überboten wurde), ermöglicht eine sehr genaue und schnelle Scharfeinstellung und funktioniert geradezu mit Charme, verstärkt durch das sehr hohe Niveau an Diskretion, die diese Kamera geringer Größe mit einer kaum hörbaren Geräusch des Auslöseknopfes und einer außerordentlich kurzen Verzögerung von 12 ms beim Auslösen vermittelt.

Pelé geht nachdenklich weiter und sein Gesicht verrät jetzt eine größere Sorge, als im vorangegangenen Bild, um den bevorstehenden Ruhestand.

                                                       © Lisl Steiner

Lisl Steiner bewegt sich ganz schnell nach rechts und ergattert ein zweites Foto und offenbart das Drama, das sich im Gesicht von Pelé abzeichnet, wenige Wochen vor seinem Abschied vom Fußball, das was er am meisten geliebt hatte, und nun am 1. Oktober 1977 bei seinem Abschiedsspiel New York Cosmos gegen Santos im Giants Stadium von New Jersey mit der Anwesenheit von 75.000 Zuschauern verwirklicht wird.

                                                      © Lisl Steiner

Im Umkleideraum vom New York Cosmos. 1977.

Unter Verwendung ihrer Leica M5, angeschlossen an einer Walter Mandler und für 8 Elemente in 6 Gruppen Elmarit-M 28 mm f/2.8 zweiter Version entworfen und von Leitz Canada Midland (Ontario) hergestellt, fotografiert Lisl Steiner den Pelé umarmenden Steve Ross aus nächster Nähe, wobei sie einen Kodak Tri-X- 400 Schwarzweißfilm verwendet und man kann Mark, den Sohn von Steve, rechts im Bild ausmachen.

Der CEO (Vorstand) von Time Warner Communications war  ein ganz wichtiger Mann beim Vorhaben, Pelé zum Club New York Cosmos zum Fußballspielen zu holen und zwar auf Grund seiner finanziellen Unterstützung und seiner Illusion, den Fußball in den Vereinigten Staaten zu verbreiten.

Außerdem waren seine einnehmende Psychologie, sein Charme und sein Glauben an das Projekt von grundlegender Bedeutung, um das Vertrauen berühmter Spieler aus dem Ausland für die USA zu gewinnen, wie Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto und andere, für die Steven Ross zum Vater wurde, weil obwohl der legendäre Vorsitzender von Time Warner Inc. sowohl ein Visionär in Bezug auf Medien und Unterhaltung, als auch ein begeisterter Sportanhänger war, er stets einen Vorrang bekundete, der wichtiger als das Geld war: das Wohl seiner Freunde und Mitarbeiter. Er werbte sie gerade in der Zeitwende an, als es geboten war, einen professionellen Fußball in den USA von Grund auf zu schaffen.

Seine Arbeit war von grundlegender Bedeutung für die schnelle Ankunft anderer großen internationalen Spieler zum Fußball der USA, wie Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst, Eusebio und George Best.

Ein weiterer wichtiger Mann war Clive Toye (National Soccer Hall von Fame 2003), der damals Geschäftsführer von Cosmos New York war und lange Geschäftsgespräche vier Jahre lang führte, die in Kingston (Jamaica) am 31. Januar 1971 anläßlich eines Besuches von Karl Lamm (Sekretär der United States Soccer Federation) auf der Insel begannen, um Pelé zu kontaktieren -der ein Freundschaftsspiel mit seinem Verein Santos aus Brasilien gegen die jamaikanische Landesmannschaft austrug- und nach einer Menge Flugreisen und weiteren Sitzungen in den brasilianischen Städten Sao Paolo, Santos und Guaruja begann Pelé am 27. März 1975 in Brüssel zu akzeptieren, bei Cosmos zu spielen und zwar während eines Heimspiels in Übereinstimmung  mit dem belgischen Stürmer Paul van Hinst; danach gingen die Verhandlungen weiter und der brasilianische Weltklasse-Spieler bestätigte zwei Wochen später in Rom, daß er bei dem New York Cosmos spielen würde und demnach unterzeichnete er den Vertrag über 2,8 Millionen Dollar in Hamilton (Bermuda) am 3. Juni 1975, während New York Cosmos eine feierliche Unterschriftszeremonie organisierte, die einige Tage später im Manhattan Club 21 von New York stattfand bis dann Pelé am 15. Juni 1975 im Spiel von New York Cosmos gegen Dallas Tornado debuttierte.

1977. Henry Kissinger, Außenminister der Vereinigten Staaten, umarmt Pelé in der Umkleidekabine von New York Cosmos im East Rutherford Giants Stadium von New Yersey, während Ahmet Ertegun (Präsident von Atlantic Records und Mitbegründer der Fußballmanschaft New York Cosmos) sich gerade hinter Kissinger und Jay Emmet (Vizepräsident von Warner Communications Inc.) hinter Pelé befindet und seinen linken Arm Anstalten macht, den brasilianischen Spieler vom Platz zu bewegen.

Das Niveau der von Pelé in den USA gesetzten Erwartungen, wo er sich auch immer  befand, war  im Rahmen des Fußballs in Nordamerika wirklich beispiellos.  

Henry Kissinger hatte eine intensive diplomatische Aktivität betrieben und führte Gespräche mit wichtigen brasilianischen Politikern, um die Beziehungen zwischen beiden Ländern zu stärken, mit dem Bestreben sie zu überzeugen, welch enorme Vorteile die Ankunft von Pelé in die USA bringen würde und auch welche riesigen Möglichkeiten bieten würde, um den Fußball in den Vereinigten Staaten zu fördern, bis er es erreichte und sodann der beste Fußballspieler der Welt im Juni 1975 nach New York kam und nachfolgend mehrere Weltklassespieler in der NASL spielen würden, wie Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, George Best, Johann Cruyff, Johann Neeskens und andere.

Später ernannte im Jahr 1983 Gene Edwards (Präsident der United States Soccer Federation) Henry Kissinger zum Präsidenten des nordamerikanischen Fußball-Komitees für die Organisation der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft 1986, die aber schließlich in Mexiko stattfand.

Er blieb jedoch beharrlich und setzte weiterhin auf die Unterstützung des Fußballs der USA mit Hilfe von Pelé und Franz Beckenbauer (Kissinger ist Ehrenmitglied des Clubs FC Bayern München) bis er die Organisation der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft 1994 in den Vereinigten Staaten erhielt, die ein doppelter großer Erfolg wurde, sowohl in wirtschaftlicher als auch in sportlicher Hinsicht.

Während der glücklichen Tage von Cosmos New York, war Kissinger -ein großer Fußballanhänger, vorsitzender der North American Soccer League während einigen Jahren-  regelmäßiger Besucher der Umkleidekabine.

Text und Bilder: José Manuel Serrano Esparza