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PAUL

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GIALO

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Football is an honest game. It's true to life. it's a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life. 

                                      - Joe Namath.

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Football is an "escape" for Paul.  "It forces you to adapt in ways not simply possible in everyday life.

 

"For 90 minutes, it's You. Your teammates. The ball. Nothing else matters."

This idea of football as an escape allowed me to remember the days of Sunday league football. I think it's tapping into that childhood play that we so love. It's the reason I love story, photography, video, film. It's what I loved as a child. 

Off the pitch it's also about discipline, commitment and enjoyment. It combines skills that are unmatched.

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"I love it! I love the emotions it can out you through, the people all walks from life with one common interest. I love it."

On success, I wanted to know what inspires Paul. Quickly he mentions how "seeing others succeed, especially close to me, drives me to achieve me own goals". He calls it "fuel", that brings genuine happiness to his life. This was extremely uplifting for me. In a society when we are taught to hate, seeing someone take motivation from others success is promising. 

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"Good company is what makes me happy. That's why I love football. You're surrounded by good company."

As part of my first photography series about battling expectations of males and females; I have the opportunity here to photograph Paul Gialo. A fantastic footballer, trainee sports talent agent and a genuinely great individual. 

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Speaking with Paul, I learnt a lot about what it means to be a black male in what he calls a "diverse city". On perceptions "I feel like we're expected to be aggressive or not very well spoken." And on racism "It does still exist...not as prominently as before, but there are still people who carry corrupt views." "At the same time we're lucky to live in a diverse city because it teaches about so many types of people".

Paul and I agree there's definitely a stigma that men have to be seen as "macho, unfeeling beings who can fight anyone and face anything". But he mentions something that I agree with also. "You have to have tough skin", you do. Especially in the society we live in today. As a spoken word writer, Paul is poetic when he goes on to say "physical toughness is seen as desirable, but emotional and mental toughness are very much individual goals" They're subjective, but the standard that's been set simply on men is there because it's all we know. 

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I've worked with Paul on two projects now and every time he is positive, insightful and makes me feel motivated. He leaves on promising that "growth (in society) is inevitable: we will always look to advance. However progress and perceived progress are different things. It's always hard when you've got opposing ideas and opinions, but generally...I think we're going in the right direction." 

Paul proposes that step by step we are getting somewhere but raises a good point on the different perceptions of progress that we should keep an eye on. He hopes and "pray(s) that I raise my kids in a tolerant and prosperous society".

Amazing working with Paul as always...I feel like he's running for Prime Minister with his ending quotes. Who knows! Never say never.

Images:   ADAM SAVVA

Words:     ADAM SAVVA

Model:      PAUL GIALO

Thanks:   JAY YOUNG, CAROLINE AKINTUNDE