Marcus Rashford by Elliott Morgan 

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    Marcus Rashford,    by Elliott Morgan,    2019,    NPG x201368,    © Elliott Morgan
Marcus Rashford, England international footballer and campaigner against child poverty.
Marcus Rashford
by Elliott Morgan
gelatin silver print, 2019
20 in. x 13 3/8 in. (508 mm x 340 mm) image size
NPG x201368
© Elliott Morgan

Marcus Rashford (born 1997) is best known as a professional footballer who has played for Manchester United and England. He is also an author and Campaigner A person who leads or takes part in a campaign, especially one for social or political change. .

Rashford has talked openly of his family’s struggle with Poverty Conditions related to being poor. as he grew up and the difference government schemes like providing free school meals can make to families like his. He has used these experiences and his status as a world-class footballer to Campaign A series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial or political aim. against child poverty and actively support other social causes.

Analysing the portrait

  • View larger image
    Marcus Rashford,    by Elliott Morgan,    2019,    NPG x201368,    © Elliott Morgan
Marcus Rashford, by Elliott Morgan, 2019

Look carefully at the portrait. Take your time – look at it for at least a whole minute. What can you see?

    • Rashford is holding a football.
    • This reminds us of his successful career as a footballer. He has played for Manchester United and England.
    • He is not dressed as a footballer, he is wearing his everyday clothes.
    • He is wearing a white polo-neck top and an ‘Off-White’ jumper. ‘Off White’ is a highly successful, luxury clothing brand founded by the designer Virgil Abloh.
    • His clothes are fashionable and expensive, but casual.
    • He is standing outside some terraced houses. This looks like the area where he grew up, in Manchester.
    • As a successful footballer, Rashford is very well-paid. But he has not been photographed in surroundings that suggest great wealth. Instead, he has been photographed outside ordinary terraced housing, like his childhood home.
    • Rashford is looking directly at us, the viewer, and smiling.
    • He looks relaxed and confident.
    • The photograph shows a three-quarter length portrait of Rashford who is placed centrally and is closely framed so that he dominates the Composition The arrangement of people or objects in a painting or photograph. .
    • He is shown in sharp focus, while the background behind him is blurred. This makes us focus on Rashford, though the presence of the houses adds to how we ‘read’ the photograph.
    • The composition is formed of a pattern of repeated diagonal lines which help to frame Marcus Rashford’s face and the football (the two important Focal point A thing or person that is the centre of interest or activity. of the image). The angle of these lines gives the portrait a dynamic feel.
    • The houses and roofs form a line across the photograph. This visually echoes the lines on his jumper and the band formed by the white of his polo-neck. The repeated lines help to draw our eyes across the different areas of the photograph.
    • As the photograph was taken outside, much of the lighting is natural daylight.
    • The portrait shows Rashford as a confident and successful person. But not as someone who is showing off.
    • The portrait suggests that Rashford is someone we can relate to.
    • It also seems to show that Rashford hasn’t forgotten his roots – that he remembers where he came from.
    • Perhaps the photograph is trying to say that we can all be successful or achieve our dreams, no matter where we come from.
A lot of the kids that grow up [where I did], they can feel like they’re stuck in an environment where it’s difficult for them to make something of it … If I can be that example to them then I’d never miss that opportunity.
Marcus Rashford, 2019

Who is Marcus Rashford?

  • Marcus Rashford grew up in south Manchester. He has spoken publicly about how hard his mother worked, and how she sometimes went without food to make sure her children could eat. The family often relied on food banks and free school meals.
  • At 7 years old, Rashford joined the academy system at Manchester United football club.
  • He played in his first game for the Manchester United first team in 2016, at the age of 18. He scored two goals.
  • In the same year, he played in his first game for the senior England team. He became the youngest player to score for England in their first senior international game. He scored after just three minutes.
  • Rashford is an active Campaigner A person who leads or takes part in a campaign, especially one for social or political change. against child Poverty Conditions related to being poor. . During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he led a Campaign A series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial or political aim. to make sure the government funded free meals for around 1.3 million children in England over the school holidays.
  • In 2021, Rashford co-authored a book called You are a Champion: How to Be the Best You Can Be. He also launched a book club to help ensure children living in poverty have books to read. He wants to support a lifelong love of reading and to raise children’s aspirations to become authors themselves, no matter where they come from.

Why is this portrait significant?

  • The artist, Elliot Morgan, often takes photographs for fashion Campaign A series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial or political aim. . He is experienced in creating images that are immediately eye-catching and appealing, encouraging viewers to engage with the photograph and the sitter.
  • Morgan was Commission A formal request made to an artist to create an artwork. to create this portrait by British GQ magazine, for an article about Rashford published in 2019. GQ is a popular men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine.
  • Marcus was 21 and seen as ‘exciting young talent’. At this time, he was playing regularly for Manchester United and had played more than 30 times for England.
  • Rashford has been described as someone who considers himself a ‘local lad made good’. The portrait shows a young man who is still really connected to where he grew up, his family, his roots and where he first played football.

Questions

  1. Why do you think professional footballers can be so helpful in campaigns to support people or change their lives?
  1. Do you think people who are paid a lot of money should help people who don’t have much money? Why?
  1. Does Marcus Rashford’s life story inspire you in any way? How?