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Autumn Nations Series – Through the eyes of Francis Lucchesi

Autumn Nations Series – Through the eyes of Francis Lucchesi

Autumn Nations Series – Through the eyes of Francis Lucchesi

Irish photographer Francis Lucchesi couldn’t believe it when he was asked to attend Ireland v Australia for the Autumn Nations Series.

The 39-year-old was last at the Aviva Stadium for Ireland’s superb 26-14 win over France in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

But on Saturday, the Dundalk native will not be attending as a fan, instead Lucchesi has been tasked with capturing the occasion in his own unique style.

Lucchesi has built up a stunning portfolio of wedding photographs, so when he got an email inviting him to cover the Autumn Nations Series, he had to double check it wasn’t fake.

“When I was asked to do it, I was like ‘oh my gosh it’s something different’,” said Lucchesi. “It was like a breath of fresh air. I’m so honoured to be involved with it.

Ireland fans celebrate during their 13-10 win over Australia at the Aviva Stadium (Francis Lucchesi) 

“I was shocked by it all. I actually thought at first it was a scam. I showed a colleague, like is this real? It looks real.

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“It is a brilliant opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

“I’ve always been interested in rugby and I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere. There is so much emotion in it.

“I love doing weddings because there is so much emotion throughout the day and with a sporting event that’s all there is, and I’d love to capture that.

“You can’t really plan your shots. It’s more about what is going to be there at that moment in time. So I’m just going into it with an open mind and take it all in as much as I can.”

Mark Nawaqanitawase clears the ball under pressure from the hosts (Francis Lucchesi)

Lucchesi did not take a typical route into photography, but even with less than a decade’s worth of experience, his snaps are inventive, touching and timeless.

“It’s a weird story. I was in the army for 13 years and I was always interested in art as a kid.

“As I got older I got more and more into photography. I got to the age of 30 and had something of a mid-life crisis. I needed something else in my life so I started studying photography.

“One thing led to the next. I started off doing nightclub photography and now I’m doing weddings full-time.”

And in 2020, Lucchesi’s work shot to prominence when one of his opportunistic shots went viral.

Fra Lucchesi BLM protest

“During the Black Lives Matter movement there was a protest in a town square in Dundalk. I was just driving past and took a few pictures and thought nothing of it,” recalled Lucchesi.

“I shared a picture of three friends as kids and the one I took of them together at the protest and it went global.

“It has been on E News, Metro, People magazine, it has been all over the place. It finished off with 56 million views. It just blew up.”

To see more of Lucchesi’s work from the Ireland v Australia game, click here

You can find a selection of Lucchesi’s work on Instagram here (@fra_lucchesi_photography) and follow him on Twitter here (@FraLucchesi)

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