Switzerland’s Sergio Brunetti spreading love of the game through his images

As American Football continues to grow in Europe, the work of the photographers grows in equal importance as they capture the best images of the players, coaches and fans.

For Italian photographer Sergio Brunetti, he has found a passion in going out and documenting every aspect of American Football for all of Europe to view.

From most recently taking photos at the Swiss Bowl, to his next venture taking photos of women’s football in Germany, you can find Brunetti everywhere, spreading his love for the game through is photography.

AFI was able to have a chance to ask Brunetti questions about his journey, experiences and opinions from his time as an American Football photographer in Europe.

AFI: How long have you been in photography?

Brunetti: I started in 1987, after an injury and I have been pro since 1997. I was born as a portrait photographer, and I try to mix sport and portraits in my… “sPortraits”

AFI: How many photos do you usually take at a game/event?

 Brunetti: When I started, I used old school 36-exposure rolls and took about 50-60% of good shots. Now, with a digital camera I take thousands of shots, but I get lower than 10% of good pics. But it’s normal, for example I take 30 frames per second when I follow WRs.

Saturday at the Swiss Bowl I took about 6000 and I think I got 400-500 good pictures. Maybe less, who knows. It mostly depends on how many times I was covered by referees or other players.

AFI: What is your routine when photographing on game day?

Brunetti: I try to be at the field at least 2 hours before the kickoff, possibly earlier. I normally take portraits during warm up, entrances (referees included) and coin toss with captains. During the game it’s time to “rock’n’roll” … After the game, some jubilation and preparation of images for the Agencies and newspapers. Finally, once at home I spend 3-4 hours editing other photos.

Photo: Slaweg-Foto

AFI: What do you enjoy most about your job?

 Brunetti: The best (at least for the morale) is to be recognized on the field by fans in tribute. Almost at any game someone shouts my name and cheers. Of course, I am also (very) happy when players come and thank me for the photos.

Photo: © Nils Blattner

AFI: What are your opinions on the growth of American Football in Europe?

 Brunetti: Well, it’s “American football” … too far from “European way of thinking” … Here it is a niche sport. It’s at a very good level in Germany. Also, good enough in Italy, England, France and Austria. For the rest, Switzerland included, the movement is too small.

I think federations should think and create a valid promotional staff turning from volunteers to another form of collaboration. And I hope that federation will take a look at female football too, because even if it’s a “niche of the niche”, it could open new marketing opportunities.

Capturing the moment: Calanda Broncos ball carrier leaping over Thonon Black Panthers defender Photo: Sergio Brunetti

AFI: What is your favorite experience from photographing American Football.

 Brunetti: I don’t know if I have one literally. I have been taking photos of American Football since 1997… there is always something happening on any field… unfortunately I can’t enjoy “bbq and beers” because for me it is a job. And with it being a job, often I lose part of the “American Football Experience.”

While Brunetti had his playing career cut short in Italy in 1987, he still wanted to contribute to his team in any way he could. Brunetti would make his move from being on the field making the plays to being on the sidelines taking pictures of them and the rest has been a happy marriage.

We thank you Sergio for your art, as your photos continue to shine a light on American Football and help it grow in Europe one picture at a time.

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a