Type foundry and studio Peregrin has captured the highs and lows and sporting spirit of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a new, limited edition photo book that combines images with commentary and stunning typography.
Titled Chaos, Tears and Joy, Peregrin's latest project looks back on the special melting pot of Qatar 2022. While the controversial tournament made headlines and sparked boycotts, Peregrin wanted to correct this imbalance of perception and give people a positive reason to remember and celebrate the iconic football competition.
"Logistically, Qatar was totally unique," says Peregrin co-founder Tom Watkins. "In terms of World Cups, all fans from all competing nations were in the same city. Doha was flooded with football shirts, creating an incredible atmosphere, so documenting people was particularly easy and especially enjoyable, Be that the energy from the South Americans or the noise from Moroccans, it was extremely intoxicating."
Filled with photos taken by Tom and Peregrin’s other co-founder Ellen at various matches, they found himself spoilt for choice regarding the subject matter. "Football fans wear their hearts on their sleeves, and stadiums packed with 40,000 fans certainly gave us plenty of material," he explains.
"With games so entertaining and with much fan energy, it was a real joy to capture. However, you will notice fewer photos from the England games. Taking photographs was impossible when your team was on the line."
The decision to shoot the matches in black and white brings these fans from all corners of the globe together. "In football, the colour of your shirt means everything; it's your identity," Tom adds. "However, we wanted the emphasis to be the raw emotion in each photograph and the shared experience of being a football fan, not about individual teams."
Snapping in monochrome also helped to turn down visually noisy images that were awash with multi-colour kits. "To give us the simple, graphic appearance we were looking for, we stripped it back to high contrast monochrome images, giving a neutrality that lets you focus and see the human story and emotion behind each image."
Chaos, Tears & Joy is not just a story in pictures, though. Accompanying them are poetic lines spoken by commentators during the matches, each written in one of Peregrin's very own typefaces, Systemia. "Systemia is our latest upcoming release and has been a year and a half in the making," Tom reveals.
"There is such a range in commentary lines that it felt important to have a typeface that was easy to read while also being flexible. Its relative neutrality helps the language and images take centre stage. It has great clarity at small and bigger sizes, so it supports all the silly and off-the-cuff remarks: the sarcastic and the dramatic. This book is a great showcase of its versatility."
This commentary was recorded in real-time as Tom and the team watched the matches, but for games they were attending, they had to watch repeats in order to capture their thoughts. This dedication comes from the studio's massive respect for commentators, who translate the action and energy of the games and add drama and context to the proceedings.
"We ended up with massive pages of notes, with different lines from different games, so selecting the best was definitely a challenge," says Tom. "Chaos, Tears and Joy doesn't have any page numbers. Instead, a match clock runs in the corner (the exact minute each commentary line was spoken) with its crucial context served up in the back of the book, running all the way from the first minute to penalties."
Indeed, the studio returned with 50 gigabytes of photos and pages upon pages of commentary from every game. "We really didn't want it to just be an exhaustive hype piece of endless cheering fans because the thrill of the game is the tense drama that goes hand in hand with getting to the win, not just the win itself," Tom adds.
"We focused on shaping all that content into a single thread that resembled a journey of a game, the highs, the lows and the anxious waiting. We also really worked hard to include every nation – either in the commentary or photography."
At its heart, though, Chaos, Tears and Joy is a book without grand moral. Instead, it's intended to serve as a time capsule of the 2022 World Cup and a book to remember the joy that it gave everyone. "If you like football, you should like this and recognise yourself in its pages. If you don't like football, here's your chance to experience the tournament without having to watch any of the games and maybe understand what all the fuss is about.
"We've also sent copies to the actual commentators as thanks for entertaining us so wholeheartedly. Hopefully, they enjoy our unique ode to them and their lyrical genius."
Chaos, Tears, and Joy is available to buy now from the Peregrin Studio shop for £44.