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Navigating early adolescence with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Rubi Deschamps’ images of the reserved wunderkind are a sincere window into the world of a professional footballer that few media conferences reveal. Ahead of her showcase as part of 24 Kitchen Street’s Black History Month Programme, we profile a local creative that the Baltic venue label “a visionary and an inspiration to young Black women in sports media”.
“I’ve actually known him since we were, like, 17,” Rubi begins in her exclusive documentary series, Behind the Dream, featuring Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. Throughout her acclaimed vignette of the celebrated right-back, Rubi commands a delicate presence of both a teenage soulmate and a sporting icon who is equally comfortable sharing childhood memories as he is manifesting future plans that await on the field. As a revered disciple of Jürgen Klopp’s red superpower, Rubi is quick to present the other side of Alexander-Arnold – the “ordinary Liverpool lad whose dreams came true”.
Featuring a mix of stills and exclusive images from the docuseries, the analogues here also reveal both a figure relishing the privileges reserved for the upper echelons of elite sport, and one with whom many of us share passions, life events and intimate in-the-moments. Snapshots of the England international spending time with Ian Wright at home are quickly countered with visits from the hairdresser and sitting in the Kop.
A photograph is never what it purports to be and, for Rubi, such in-the-moment encounters are where deeper meanings and mutual affinities are discovered. “I always shoot on film because it’s the rawness I like – the idea everything is just one moment,” she tells me. “You can never be in the same moment in its entirety twice, but you can feel what you felt to some degree with the right image capturing that special moment.”
For 24 Kitchen Street’s Black History Month Programme – a curation of established and emerging Black talent in partnership with the Anthony Walker Foundation – Rubi will showcase her work at The Black Market, Liverpool’s first Black business and creative focused market encompassing local photography, art and other disciplines. The venue’s community coordinator, Gaia Ahuja, describes Deschamps as “an exciting multidimensional creative, from fashion to photography to producing and directing films”. Her passion and dedication shines both on and off camera, Gaia continues, “embodying Scouse power” in all its unfiltered certitude.
Scouse power is evident throughout the Baltic hub’s extensive programme which features filmmakers, DJs and LGBTQ+ creatives for the advancement of Black empowerment, social commentary and conversations dismantling racist structures across society.