Witsel / Wasilewski, the story of a big picture


This is a photo that has marked the spirits.
That of the broken leg of Marcin Wasilewski. It is August 31, 2009 (just 10 years ago), in full classico Anderlecht / Standard. 25th minute of play, the score is then always frozen at 0/0 in the first clash of the season between the two best enemies of the world. Sporting Anderlecht's Polish dives, his right leg extended, to retrieve a balloon that runs along the line. Axel Witsel arrives, late, right foot forward. A physical commitment that leaves no chance for the shin and fibula of the defender who break clean. The commentators do not immediately understand what has just happened, focused on the decision of Jérôme Nzolo, the referee of the meeting, who decides, logically and without any hesitation, to exclude the player from Liège. It's only a few seconds later, slow motion images, that everyone understands. Mbark Boussoufa, who attended the scene, does not dare to approach his teammate who writhes in pain on the ground, the lower part of his right leg at right angles. Horror vision.
This action, Virginie Lefour, photographer for the Belga press agency, is the only one to have managed to photograph it. A photo that marked his career.

"I obviously realized very quickly that something bad had happened"we trust you."This is the advantage of digital, we know very quickly see if we managed to capture this or that scene. But it was especially at the end of the match that we took the time, with colleagues, to watch and analyze this image. But at the same time, I remember the shouts of the player and the atmosphere of the supporters who were logically very angry. It is sometimes difficult to continue working in these conditions with fans who insult us but we are here to report what is happening on the ground."

Being in the right place at the right time

At this time, Virginia is a little news in the middle of the sport photo. "This shot clearly allowed me to make a name a little faster in the middle"she adds."I'm still told about it regularly because I'm the only one to get it."A question of luck and chance, to be in the right place at the right time and to trigger at the moment."But it is obvious that during a Classico, we are still more attentive to the duels because there is a particular physical commitment, sometimes more intense than in some other meetings. When an action takes place, we follow it and we do not let it go. "

The next day, the image is in one of all newspapers in the country and spreads like wildfire on the internet. "I did not consider censoring it and I sent it to the agency which also felt that even if it was difficult, it was not too trashy. However, it is hard to say what has really been its impact at the international level. But in Belgium, she was indeed everywhere. But what is most surprising is that when Axel Witsel appeared before the Belgian Union, he arrived with the picture under his arm to support his defense. (he will finally be suspended 8 meetings, Ed)

A photo that marked the beginning of the career of Dampremy's photographer. "With the picture of Devils stacked in pyramid on Vincent Kompany (during Belgium / Scotland during the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, Ed)it is an important image in my career indeed. But even if I am independent, I work on the basis of a collaboration agreement with the agency. So there was no small financial bonus despite the success of this photo. "

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