“I’m in love with sport”

by Kitty Drake in May 2020
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Athleta is an Italian sports magazine entirely unconcerned with results and transfer news. “The idea is that you could read any issue 10 years after the publication date and still enjoy the emotion behind the story”, says editor Giovanni Gallio. “We are in love with sport. It is the most emotional thing in the world”.

This issue, Athleta’s sixth, features series on “jinetes” (Mexican bull riders), German cheerleaders and a Moroccan team of veiled Muslim rugby players. Over zoom, Giovanni talked us through the issue in five images.

“This is not the kind of picture we would usually put in the magazine: the flash is so bright; we prefer to use natural light and reportage style in Athleta. But the story is very strong: it’s about the female division of Association Marrakech Rugby Aran. The idea of a female rugby team in Morocco, where historically women have not been treated equally to men, is fascinating. I adore the strong colours, the green of the field, the orange, the red of the dress.”

“Sara (Capovilla) and I run a photography studio and we took this image. We travelled to Mexico in February, just before the lockdown. We were lucky: we came back just in time, right before they closed the border in Italy. We went to shoot the microcosm that exists around the “Jaripeo” — an ancient form of bull riding practiced mainly in Central and Southern Mexico. I love this picture because the people who live around the Jaripeo live simply, but they have style when it comes to this sport: big hats, amazing chaparreras, great shirts. Around the Jaripeo there is nothing. The region we were in is very dangerous: it’s a narco zone. But in the stadium, everyone is dressed in the best clothes they have; it’s all style and colour.”

“This image is taken from a story about German cheerleaders. Seeing these pictures is the first time I’ve heard about cheerleading in Germany. You assume that cheerleading at this level only happens in America. This is our cover image. We published the magazine in lockdown, and I see it as a symbol of togetherness in this moment.”

“This image was taken in a gun shop in New Zealand. As an Italian, it’s crazy to see something like this. To see an advert with an attractive woman, handling a gun like this — like it’s something so natural! I love the reportage: it’s so clean, so strong, shot like this in black and white.”


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