Can’t Smile Without You

Pocko Exhibition

On 5th March 2020, Pocko Gallery proudly hosted ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, an exhibition by Art Director, Graphic Designer and Photographer, Martin Andersen.

As an avid and life-long Tottenham Hotspur fan, Martin Andersen  turned his camera on his fellow fans to create ‘Can’t Smile Without You’, an intimate and often visceral collection of photographs taken at home, away, and across Europe from 2013 until 2017 with the last game played at the White Hart Lane stadium.

Selected and edited from over one hundred different games, Andersen presents an authentic and unflinching documentation of the fans and their resulting relationships and community through his book and accompanying exhibition. His imagery depicts the drama, tensions, and raw emotions involved in such unwavering support of a football team that infiltrates every part of life.

The focus is always on the players and the manager. I was interested in making a project about the fans. The fans never switch alliances – they are here forever and I felt that needed to be documented and celebrated.

-Martin Andersen

The book isn’t about football hooliganism. There’s a bit of violence, sure, the odd street fight, but despite the never-ending tabloid thirst to focus on fights, he frames the wider picture, including daughters and grandfathers, and heartwarming stories of generations united by their love of their team. It’s about all of them: the fans.

– Vice

There’s something about going to all those games, travelling home and away, which forms bonds between people and, over the past five years, I have met so many fantastic characters and heard many Tottenham stories. It is fascinating meeting and talking to lifelong fans, those who have been there since the glory days – there’s a real link to the history of the club in their memories. It’s important to memorialise that.

I wanted to capture different generations of fans, the camaraderie, the banter, the songs in the pubs, the madness. Travelling up and down the country and the long away trips in Europe.

I wanted the book to have some artistic merit in terms of photography. I am interested in people and I’ve always been more interested in photography that is open-ended, pictures that are suggestive and open to interpretation, rather than pictures that are descriptive.