Since 2016, Rachel Bach has captured almost all of the Westfield Matildas' most iconic moments. On World Photography Day, she provides insight into her journey behind the lens.
Were it not for a serendipitous encounter with a friend’s lens, Rachel Bach wouldn’t have become one of the foremost photographers in Australian football.
“Football’s always been a part of my life,” Bach said. “I used to play and mucked around on a friend’s camera when I was injured.”
That fateful encounter led to Bach buying her own equipment a few years later, leading her down the path which has seen her follow the Westfield Matildas around the globe.
Merging her love of football with her mission for providing visibility of women in sport, Bach has tried to use her camera to tell the stories of the “many personalities within the group and document their journey.”
The relationships she has built with players across World Cups, Olympics and countless other events – resulting in some of the most unique photos of them around – underline how much the Westfield Matildas mean to Bach.
“I try to capture them in the way that I see them - not just as athletes, but as people with unique and powerful stories,” she said.
I want to capture everything. The milestones, the highs, the lows… I want to give visibility to all of these moments, which add to the team’s narrative.”
And this passion, this dedication has not gone unnoticed by the players that captures.
“Rach has been around the Matildas for the last couple of years and we really appreciate her unselfish dedication to us as a team,” said Alanna Kennedy.
With her creative eye and talent, Rach as an uncanny ability to not only capture special moments, but also capture the essence of who we are as players and as people."
“I think that comes from how over time she has been able to build relationships and gain an understanding of us as individuals - to make us feel comfortable.
“We as players will be able to look back on our careers and really cherish those moments and relive those memories because of Rachel.”
If not for the trust and support from the Westfield Matildas players themselves, Bach might not have turned her hobby into a career since snapping them at her first game: a friendly against New Zealand in Ballarat.
Photography has also given Bach the opportunity to “stay involved in football and give back to a sport that’s given so much to me.”
It has also helped bring fans and supporters closer to the team they love.
Rachel Bach’s 10 Memorable Photos
Caitlin Foord shares a moment with her nan after a match. An intimate moment in such a crowded scene, where you can see how much family means to her.
Lisa De Vanna celebrates a goal against Brazil in 2016. A sellout crowd in NSW made for the most incredible atmosphere - a game I’ll never forget.
After scoring 4 goals in a World Cup game, Sam came over to me with the match ball and asked for a photo. An honour to capture this moment for her, especially because she always wants the spotlight on the team and not on herself.
Chloe Logarzo celebrates with a superman tribute to injured teammate Laura Brock. A wonderful gesture in an incredible World Cup match.
A fan meets his favourite player in Hayley Raso. I love documenting post-match moments, where you’ll often find players spending over an hour with fans after the final whistle blows. Generosity personified.
A lighter moment with Steph Catley and an unwitting photobomber in Turkey, pre World Cup. One on one time with players for portraits is always special, and one of my favourite parts of shooting.
Alanna Kennedy celebrates a 91st minute equaliser to keep the Matildas in the Asian Cup. I love the reactions, and you can see the small - but loud - group of the players’ families and friends in the background.
Shooting in the tunnel is a rarity (and a privilege), but it’s a chance to show moments that often go unseen to the public, like this one.
Aivi Luik probably isn’t the player that would first come to mind if I said the word backflip, but here she is in Vietnam. Without a doubt the most stunning scene for recovery I’ve ever witnessed.
Sometimes things don’t go to plan, but it didn’t stop the team from qualifying for the Olympics. Lights out 2 minutes in - the players warm up again, and the match continues.