The supporters of FC Sankt Pauli offer an alternative to the traditional stereotypes often perpetuated by British and European, football supporters. This is why many from outside of Hamburg are gravitating towards Sankt Pauli and embracing the fan culture.
Conrad Tracy has been photographing aspects of football culture, intermittently, over 20 years, including for his Masters in Visual Culture, at Birmingham City University (UCE) graduating in 1996. Other key themes that continue to be part of his photographic practice have looked at racism within the UK and ideas of masculinity. These combined interests and concerns subliminally drew him to his present work at FC Sankt Pauli.
As an Englishman with left wing sympathy’s, photographer and football fan Conrad Tracy found an affinity with FC Sankt Pauli and its supporters. The English game has suffered from years of mismanagement, corporate greed, fan apathy and the acceptance of a culture that is openly sexist and homophobic, and often racist and bigoted, FC Sankt Pauli and its supporters seem to offer an antidote to this.
Across Europe fascism simmers barely below the surface at some football clubs. However, in Hamburg there is an alternative in FC. Sankt Pauli, who's supporters define themselves as being against fascism/homophobia/racism/sexism and anti-Semitism. The supporters are a living, breathing example of why not to judge people on appearance alone, fully embracing an ideology that rejects many of the stereotypes labelled at football supporters. The St. Pauli. Skinheads, who are a large part of this project, live by their moto; “Sometimes Anti-Social, Always Anti-Fascist”, which is emblazoned on the entrance to their section of the ground, and are a good example of this point. The casual observer could easily jump to the wrong conclusions based on appearance alone, however, this initial judgment could not be further from the truth.
“My work tries to capture a part of the truly alternative spirit of FC Sankt Pauli and its community of supporters, providing an insight into a culture that embraces difference and tolerance, while maintaining true to the loyalty and bonds of friendship that are intrinsically woven into the fabric of football culture and the working-class communities that the majority of supporters belong to.”- Conrad Tracy
Conrad Tracy is a Photographer and Academic. As Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course, at AUB (Arts University Bournemouth), Conrad has written and developed one of the most exciting and successful photography degrees of its type in the UK, and is proud to have supported the development and education of many successful photographers and creatives who are now established within their own right. Within the HE sector he has a recognised profile, including being elected Chair of The Association for Photography in Higher Education (APHE) between 2011-14 and being honoured by the Royal Photographic Society in 2013 for Outstanding Achievements/Sustained Contribution in Photographic Education, helping him to maintain a high profile in the photographic community. Conrad chaired the War on Want Photography Award ‘Document’ 2010 as well as Co-curating an International Student Photography exhibition as part of New York Photography Festival also in 2010.
Professionally Conrad has freelanced for editorial clients, including the Observer Magazine and the Saturday and Sunday Times Magazines. His work has also been represented by both Photonica and Getty Images, for advertising and promotion. Conrad’s work has been exhibited nationally over the last 20 years and he continues to make personal work, (and when he has time takes on occasional commissions), including an ongoing body of work based around alternative football culture in Hamburg (FC Sankt Pauli), which he is hoping to eventually publish as a book, and commissioned work for Bond & Coyne in 2016.
Location: Birmingham City University, Parkside Gallery, 5 Cardigan Street,