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Team Talk

Nick Danziger

All blacks changing room McCaw Nouvelle-Zélande vestiaires

About the image

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Nick Danzinger was invited to follow and share the life of the All Blacks for a five-week period in autumn 2010, at the request of the New Zealand Federation, who wanted to leave its mark, create a heritage. The Federation didn’t choose a New Zealand photographer, or even a rugby specialist, wanting to bring something different. They chose Nick Danziger, with his incredible capacity for portraying individuals, their lives and stories. Accompanied by journalist James Kerr, Nick didn’t content himself with just following the team. Carried by his unstoppable curiosity, he also traveled the country to see rugby schools with their rough and deep landscapes. The body of work became « Mana », an incredible reportage which gave birth to a book. A witness account for years to come. James Kerr wrote in the forward that a radical change had taken place in New Zealand over the past twenty years. A kind of rediscovery and rebirth of a unique cultural identity. It could be said, he wrote, that the Maoris had started to « recolonise » New Zealand. Not in the true sense of the word, but in the transmission to « Pakehas », the whites, of the importance of the soul of this land, of the importance of evoking ancestors and the spirit of the land which, even more than the game itself, represented them all. This is particularly strong and noticeable in the All Blacks, more so and faster than in the civil society, because this harmony, this solidarity, this desire to be together is induced by this sport first and foremost.
All Blacks locker room, Waikato Stadium (Hamilton, New Zealand) after a match against Wales (29-10).

Nick Danziger's account

Even though I’m not a specialist, I was very aware of experiencing a privileged moment and bearing witness to it. McCaw’s speech was global, deep. He was talking as much to the older players as to the younger ones as well as the recently capped players. He probably wasn’t completely convinced by each person’s commitment despite the score. He went back to the beginnings, to the basics. It started with « Be an All Black… »

Jean-Denis chose it

This could be the illustration of a sentence by Michel Audiard: when Rich McCaw talks, everyone listens. This is after a winning match, everyone is ready for the after-match banquet, but despite winning, the captain has something to say. Nick Danzinger, privileged witness of the scene, told me that his speech was global, deep. He was talking as much to the older players as to the younger ones as well as the recently capped players. He probably wasn’t completely convinced by each person’s commitment despite the score. He went back to the beginnings, to the basics. It started with « Be an All Black… » The image itself is quite classic; its importance comes from its intention and rarity (few photographers in the history of the All Blacks have been able to penetrate this sanctuary). It radiates a positive energy; the power of the speech can be felt through the poses of the listeners. It is a photo for the office of a big boss, a very real lesson in management. Without shouting or gesticulating, Captain Rich gains the respect through example and his capacity to make himself heard. It is very, very rare and very, very powerful.