Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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June 19, 2014

Passion amid poverty; An insider's view of the World Cup

Editor’s Note: Andover freelance photographer Winslow Townson’s latest assignment has taken him to Brazil for the World Cup, where he’s focusing his lenses on all the action for USA Today. We were thrilled when Townson offered to share some of the sights and scenes of the World Cup, as well as his view of Brazil, with The Townsman. He’ll be providing weekly insights and images to The Townsman for as long as Team USA remains in competition, which brings us at least through our July 3 edition.

Townson started in the business in 1986 and works primarily for Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, USA Today and Getty Images. He has shot such sporting events as the Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, the World Series, the NCAA Final Four, Stanley Cup finals, Triple Crown horse racing, NASCAR and World Soccer. He lives in town with his wife, Ellen, a lifelong Andover resident, and he has three sons. For more on Townson’s work, visit www.winslowtownson.com.

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After 25 hours and four flights, I arrived in Natal, Brazil, last week to begin photographing the 2014 World Cup for USA Today.

The first thing I learned was that there are two kinds of weather here. Hot and steamy and hot, steamy and rainy. And when I say rainy, I really mean a monsoon. Three straight days of hard, nonstop rain — rain that literally turned the streets into rivers and playing fields into ponds. It was the kind of rain that makes a shower back in your hotel room sound like a bad idea.

However, making up for the steamy monsoon-like conditions was the friendly, helpful people. Even though very little English is spoken here (and I speak very little Portuguese), they know you are here for the biggest sporting event in the world, and they want you to have a good time. It’s all about their national passion, soccer ... er .... football.

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