'I will give everything I have' is a new photographic series by Benjamin Lichtenstein. In an email conversation between Chapter House Lane's Louise Klerks and the artist, Lichtenstein shares the stories behind the images he took while on the field.
LK: What is the story behind the title?
BL: The series title I will give everything I have comes from one of my teammate’s responses in a passage he wrote prior to playing in last year’s grand final. Prior to the grand final, we players were asked by our coaches to write down what playing in a grand final meant to us, and what actions we would bring on the day. The responses were collated and disseminated amongst the players in the team. In the section about what actions you would bring on the day, my friend and teammate, Bill, wrote the words I will give everything I have. I thought it was perfect in its brevity and I knew he meant it absolutely.
LK: Do you remember the day you took the photos? Could you talk us through the images?
BL: The photos were taken between 2014 and 2015. I can remember most of them pretty well.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Wazza, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
This is probably the only one I can’t recall the details of due to the lack of context. The photo is of the back of my friend Warwick Baker’s jumper. Warwick and Bill were the two people who brought me to the club (West Brunswick Amateur Football Club) back in 2009. They are both exceptional human beings. They’re open-minded, fair, warm, extremely generous and gracious, and both very good footballers.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Nults, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
Jack Nulty is pictured in this photo. It was taken during a game against Hawthorn Amateur Football Club in 2014. It was at their ground and was the first time we had played them that season. They were a very strong side and we lost to them by a big margin, which was also our first loss for the year. Jack is great guy, and one of a handful of players who are all mates from Daylesford who came to the club within a couple of years of each other. They add so much fun and individuality to the place, not to mention some very good footballing abilities.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Mitch, Costa, Vaggy, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
Craig Mitchell and Toneka Costa are holding up another player (whose identity is obscured), who would have played his 100th game for the club.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Marto, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
Grand final day 2014. Our club captain Louis Martin fronts up to a Hawthorn player during a melee at half time of the match. We had gone into the match having gone through the season winning every game except the ones we played against Hawthorn (on three occasions). They had gone into the match undefeated. We were four goals down at quarter time, but kicked nine goals to two in the second, to be up by 17 points at half time. We went on to win the match by 38 points.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Billy Morgan, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
Bill Irving, pictured after the end of the grand final in 2015. In similar circumstances to 2014, we had gone through the season winning every game except the two played against Emmaus St Leo’s. Emmaus St Leo’s had gone through the season undefeated. Come grand final day, we weren’t given much of a chance from the tipsters. It was a low-scoring, contested match, but in the third quarter, Emmaus St Leo’s kicked away to a 26-point lead at three-quarter time. It would require a tremendous effort to peg back that lead, but in the final quarter we kept attacking, and the goals started to come. Trailing by 5 points deep into the last quarter, Bill Irving soared to take a big contested mark in the forward line. Cooly, he kicked the goal from about 35 metres out to put us 1 point in front. The ball was deep in Emmaus St Leo’s forward line as the siren sounded to deliver us the premiership. Spectators, reserves players and coaches stormed the field in a mixture of sheer elation and disbelief.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Red, Nults, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
Another photo from 2014 against Hawthorn. Evan ‘Red’ Lloyd tackling a Hawthorn forward, with Jack Nulty to the right of the frame.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, Haysey, Hamma, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
This was the scene in the dying seconds of the 2014 grand final. As was described above, the win was very much against the odds. Pictured is our senior coach, Angus ‘Hamma’ Hamilton, in tears of joy being patted on the back by the runner, John Haysey (who was until then our last premiership captain). It was at this point that Hamma knew the premiership was ours for the keeping and we had done enough.
Image: Benjamin Lichtenstein, The Ultimate Prize, 2015, unique silver gelatin print
This is the 2015 reserves premiership cup at the feet of our victorious team. Having lost the 2013 and 2014 grand finals by 5 and 4 points respectively, the victory was a long time coming. With the senior team also winning the flag later that day, it marked a special moment in our club’s 58-year history whereby both the senior and reserve teams had won the premiership in the same year.
All photos courtesy of Benjamin Lichtenstein, 2016. See more on Lichtenstein’s website.