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Interview

Capturing moments

Reiss Nelson’s incredible stoppage-time winner for Arsenal against Bournemouth produced one of the Premier League's most iconic images last season – and as the 23-year-old tells Aaryan Parasnis, he is no stranger to the lens himself

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

But we’re not just here to look at images: I’m also keen to find out about Nelson’s passion for taking photographs himself. When I bring up this subject, there’s another grin; the weariness from training and talking shop for hours seems to melt away a little. “I got into it in the past two years,” he says. “My mum was always saying to me, ‘Let’s take pictures together, with the family,’ and I always used to be against it. But it came to a point where I thought, ‘Well, why haven’t I documented my life, and my friends’ and family’s lives?’”

A quick look through Nelson’s Instagram shows a particular fondness for old-school cameras. “I started doing a little film photography, just using a 35mm lens. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes the digital look can be too clean. And if you’re just taking a basic picture, the film effect makes it look a bit cooler.” 

As Nelson’s photobook keeps growing, so does his fondness for the craft. He points out that a photo can turn your attention to something you may have missed in the moment itself, giving you a fresh perspective. “I made a private account on Instagram where I’ve been documenting some cool stuff like when I go on holiday, some of my friends, my team-mates; just trying to create a story behind the life of a footballer. I feel like they sometimes get seen in the wrong light and I thought this could be something positive.”

And what makes a good picture? “It’s just the moment. A lot of times it’s when my friends are doing events and stuff like that. Sometimes, when you’re taking a picture, you don’t realise how it’s going to turn out until it’s formed. That’s the good thing about film, because you can’t see the result until the picture develops. Then, of course, when you see the pictures, you see all the different elements and angles. And sometimes you see things that you didn’t see on the lens.”

Patience and surprise are apt metaphors in the context of Arsenal’s season. The Gunners’ young core have taken the team to new heights and, despite not winning the league, the promised land of Champions League football awaits for the first time in six years. And Nelson is raring to go on Europe’s biggest stage after playing his part in getting his side there. “All the players, fans and coaches are just really buzzing. It’s been a long time coming. Arsenal’s a great club and that’s where we belong: in the Champions League.” Time to focus. 

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

Capturing moments
Interview

Capturing moments

Reiss Nelson’s incredible stoppage-time winner for Arsenal against Bournemouth produced one of the Premier League's most iconic images last season – and as the 23-year-old tells Aaryan Parasnis, he is no stranger to the lens himself

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

But we’re not just here to look at images: I’m also keen to find out about Nelson’s passion for taking photographs himself. When I bring up this subject, there’s another grin; the weariness from training and talking shop for hours seems to melt away a little. “I got into it in the past two years,” he says. “My mum was always saying to me, ‘Let’s take pictures together, with the family,’ and I always used to be against it. But it came to a point where I thought, ‘Well, why haven’t I documented my life, and my friends’ and family’s lives?’”

A quick look through Nelson’s Instagram shows a particular fondness for old-school cameras. “I started doing a little film photography, just using a 35mm lens. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes the digital look can be too clean. And if you’re just taking a basic picture, the film effect makes it look a bit cooler.” 

As Nelson’s photobook keeps growing, so does his fondness for the craft. He points out that a photo can turn your attention to something you may have missed in the moment itself, giving you a fresh perspective. “I made a private account on Instagram where I’ve been documenting some cool stuff like when I go on holiday, some of my friends, my team-mates; just trying to create a story behind the life of a footballer. I feel like they sometimes get seen in the wrong light and I thought this could be something positive.”

And what makes a good picture? “It’s just the moment. A lot of times it’s when my friends are doing events and stuff like that. Sometimes, when you’re taking a picture, you don’t realise how it’s going to turn out until it’s formed. That’s the good thing about film, because you can’t see the result until the picture develops. Then, of course, when you see the pictures, you see all the different elements and angles. And sometimes you see things that you didn’t see on the lens.”

Patience and surprise are apt metaphors in the context of Arsenal’s season. The Gunners’ young core have taken the team to new heights and, despite not winning the league, the promised land of Champions League football awaits for the first time in six years. And Nelson is raring to go on Europe’s biggest stage after playing his part in getting his side there. “All the players, fans and coaches are just really buzzing. It’s been a long time coming. Arsenal’s a great club and that’s where we belong: in the Champions League.” Time to focus. 

On a warm and sunny day at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground, Mikel Arteta has just put his players through a gruelling training session – and now it’s time for their media duties. With notebook (and a secret folder) in hand, I watch as Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding go about their business throughout the afternoon. 

Towards the end, I finally get a moment to sit with Nelson and have a chat. And while we kick things off with football – specifically his remarkable stoppage-time winner against Bournemouth in the Premier League last season – I have a different topic in mind. 

“I started doing a little film photography. I like that older, more vintage look; sometimes digital can be too clean”

First things first: as I open my secret folder to reveal a selection of photos, which I lay out on the table in front of Nelson, a smile forms at the corners of his mouth. Each depicts a different scene in the aftermath of his sweet half-volley with the last kick of that March game against Bournemouth, the goal completing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and providing a massive boost in Arsenal’s journey back onto the Champions League stage. 

In one picture, the 23-year-old is being chased by elated team-mates inside a delirious stadium, but he’s just gesturing for them to relax. “Once the ball hit the net, I didn't realise what I’d done until I saw everyone going crazy,” he says. “I was telling everyone to calm down, but the excitement was just through the roof. It was probably the most beautiful moment I’ve had in my career so far. I felt the love from everyone.”

Considering the magnitude of the strike, you’d be hard-pressed to find many better photos to capture the kind of roller-coaster ride that last season proved to be for the Gunners. It’s instances like that he’ll always remember, Nelson tells me; the fact that he has just signed a four-year contract extension suggests he is keen for more.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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