Face in the Crowd.

For the past five years, Alan Dein, an oral historian and radio presenter, has spent long days at collectors fairs and even longer nights on eBay, searching for grainy photographs of huddled football fans. […]

These lucky people were the winners of the now defunct ‘face in the crowd’ competitions, held on the pages of hundreds of football programmes from the 1950s onwards. […]

This ambiguity is matched by the fact that many of these images were made during a time of increased surveillance of football fans. (“What the Face In The Crowd pictures don’t show is that from the 1970s, police photographers were present taking their own pictures to identify and weed out people who were going to cause trouble.”)

“Part of the spectacle of being at a big gathering is knowing that the cameras are there and you might be spotted,” Dein says. “It’s a far cry from these images, where people weren’t dressing up or planning to be photographed. It goes without saying that today almost every single person will have their own camera, they’ll be taking selfies or photographing each other. These images will exist, even if they don’t go beyond their own Instagram or Twitter.”
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