Sunday, 28 February 2010


You know the unfortunate theft of photographic equipment of our fellow Christian Maury few days ago. After posting the story on the web, another friend photographer who lives in the neighbourhood of the robbery phoned me. "I have researched and I learned that behind the thefts of its kind, in the Plaça de Sant Pere and environs, are some Pakistanis. These thefts are done by a group of Algerian minors, to whom the Pakistanis give small bonuses for each "trophy" obtained.
A few years ago in Barcelona, I worked as an assistant for Magnum’s photographer, Harry Gruyaert, who often works with Leica. He told me that long ago, on the Ramblas, a group of North Africans had stolen his camera bag. He tried to pursuit them, but another put his heel and made Harry fall.
On one occasion, one of the great investigative journalists of Barcelona, told me that on a story about the underworld of the Catalan capital had got surprising information. A mafia organization employed North African youths to rob ... Leicas! A camera very easy to sell, second handed, all over the world. The children had learned to identify the mythical camera and followed their owners waiting for the moment to deprive them from the precious booty.
This story has a sad end. Years later I went to see Harry Gruyaert inaugurating an exhibition of his emblematic colour photos of Morocco in the Palau de la Virreina, in Barcelona’s Ramblas .a few days later, when photographed with his Leica in the MACBA Square, was robbed in broad daylight . 4 young North Africans pounced on him, threw him to the ground and took away his photo equipment.

You can imagine my grief and shame, about the same thing, happening to Harry in my hometown.

I want to make very clear my respect for Pakistani and North African communities to which, like many other emigrants, the crisis is affecting in a particular way. Nothing further from my intention to provide further fuel for a xenophobic discourse. If I mentioned individuals from these two communities, is because I think it is a significant contribution, from very reliable sources, to the article on the theft of cameras.

Friday, 26 February 2010


Usually, you do not have many chances to photograph the process of a traffic ticket, much less in these times. And besides, now I make things backwards: instead of come down and get closer, I get up and farther.
I saw how the city police stopped the car when I went to buy bread. I ran up to my flat to photograph the scene from the window.
Fortunately, it appears that the emigrant had all the papers.

You can imagine why the traffic ticket, don't you?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, 22 February 2010


Image and video hosting by TinyPic


This could be, for example, a title to accompany this photo. The story is that on Friday I went to teach at the Faculty of Communication Sciences, in Bellaterra, Barcelona, and I found this picture about leaks caused by rain.
Like last time, here too, I saw an image that I liked; then I ran to the photography department to borrow a camera.
Precisely at this University, I teach the difference between photo news and photo illustration. If the caption says "Leaks in the University" would be a photo news, but if the title is "The crisis of the press" would be a photo illustration.
I encourage blog readers to provide more headlines. I venture with a few ones:

"The printed media is dying."

“Printed media about to disappear”
“Printed media becomes wet paper”

I wait for your contributions.

Friday, 19 February 2010



It's raining again in Barcelona and I remember the Eurythmics' song performed by Annie Lennox:
Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy

I have two choices: get depress o use photography as a therapy. I use the second option, of course.

This is a panoramic image resulting from joining three vertical photos using Photosop's Photomerge. I took the photos, the camera on a tripod, 1/6 and f:8 at 100 ASA.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Like every year I got the Nikon notebook 2010. I keep them all because I wrote notes in them that bring me back to travels and important stories I shoot in the past, as I explained in another post. With the crisis, trips have been reduced, but in the agenda of the past year there is one for the memory of coming times: South Africa. Here you can see an example of three annotations, two of which correspond to a helicopter flight.

The best school in South Africa, Michael House.

The waterfall in the valley of Karkloof.

An unforgettable and terrible experience: the nocturnal hunting of a pride of lions at Lion Sands, next to Kruger Park.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
NIKON D 700, 50 mm Nikkor F:1,8. 1/60 F:2 ISO 3.200

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Image and video hosting by TinyPic


A few days ago Pepe Baeza, in the interesting series of conferences in the framework of activities around the FotoPress 2009 exhibition, said something that made me think.
Pepe talked about all the obstacles being put to the work of photojournalists, many sibylline such as "kill the messenger." One of the most recent and dramatic case was with the image awarded with a World Press, taken by South African photographer Kevin Carter.

The critics were merciless. That if the vulture was he, why not save the child instead of taking the picture ...

We photographers know that each photo involves a high degree of subjectivity. Another photographer who was with Carter explained that it was a very tight frame that excluded dozens of children whose parents were in the neighborhood collecting food provided by UN personnel. After some shots the vulture flew.
I see it as a symbolic picture. Carter used a telephoto lens that reduces the actual distance between the child and the vulture and that, of course, is not in danger of being devoured by it. This picture symbolizes the state of plundered Africa for years and years of colonialism, by dictators supported by many Western countries that benefit from its raw materials and sale of weapons.

Pepe Baeza explains it very well. "It turns out that the perpetrators are those who say do not take photos of the victims.”They want Kevin Carter to save all African children instead of describing what is happening, in a speech blaming the witness."
It is the argument that is imposing the neoliberal trend under the heading of "Respect for the dignity of the victims," among many other obstacles to eliminate annoying testimony to their interests.

All this reminded me that in one of the universities where I teach photojournalism I showed my story about The Peace Village, a German organization that cures children injured in third world wars and that was published on the cover of the Magazine of La Vanguardia. Seeing the photo that heads this article, and that was also part of an exhibition entitled "Disasters of War", one student said, "but, can it be published? What about the girl rights?
My God, These are the journalists of the future? Who is teaching this at the university?
I answered, “The girl in the picture doesn’t care about being photographed, what it’s really annoying her is being burned and injured in a forgotten third world war.

Heavens! I hope that teachers like Pepe Baeza, Sandra Balsells, Laura Terré, Silvia Omedes or myself, amongst others, may amend these outrages.

Monday, 15 February 2010


On Saturday 6 February, I went to the INOUT hostel to photograph the Chinese New Year celebration for the calendar that 12 photographers will make. The place was filled and, just after dinner, the fireworks began, then the acting and the party. I show you some of the photos I took.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Last wednesday, Barcelona's Valid Foto gallery inagurated Montse Campins exhibition "Viajando con Olga" . The Catalan photographers shows us her inner world in trips where she used an Holga, a Chinese camera. Doubles exposures and blurs allows her to do it in a very poetic and personal way.

As in the previous exhibition, many people came to this young gallery that is rapidly becoming a reference within Barcelona's photographic world.



As before, Marisol Sanjuán handled the catering. The wines were supplied by a young winery located in tha Pallars Jussà area: Cellers Vila Corona.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010



Finally, after days and days of rain dawned a glorious day in Barcelona. The rains had completely cleared the atmosphere and the light was beautiful. It coincided with one of the days I teach photography at the School of Journalism at the Pompeu Fabra University. I carried the camera and took some photos in the district @ 22 where the faculty is located. Just look how was the bar’s terrace. The prevailing sad rainy days was empty.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

To straighten the lines of the photo below I used the Photoshop lens correction filter.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


In the past, it has happened to me on numerous occasions. When I have faced difficult situations the camera serves as a shield that protects me.
These thoughts came to mind when I saw the pictures of Claudia. The story began when I received an e-mail from Claudia Macionni. Claudia had been a photo student of Quim Roser, and mine at the photojournalism course that we both teach at IDEP. After completing the course, I saw Claudia that asked my advice about the possibility of doing an internship as a photographer for Agence France Presse in Israel. I strongly advised to take and, when she came back, she showed me some great photos from which shines anew a report on a Druze Muslim wedding at the border with Syria.
I thought it would be something similar, but no. Claudia wrote me that they had detected her a breast cancer; she had decided to photograph the whole process and wondered if I had good references from the journal Yo Dona that was interested in publishing her story.

I was very upset, but I commented that although did not know her in person, had excellent references from the head of international and travel section, Paka Díez.
Last Saturday, Yo Dona published the story entitled "Diary of a revival. A year with cancer, "with text and photos of Claudia Maccioni, a story that had a happy ending.
There are pictures in the mirror, and the other made with remote control, first by cable and then with a transmitter. The post-operation pictures were made by another person, but always under the direction of the photographer who prepared the frame and technical adjustments: speed, diaphragm....
It is a story of great courage in which support has been critical and came from Claudia’s family and close friends, as Stefan, her boyfriend. And in the same way that when photographing hard scenes of suffering, the camera serves as a shield and therapy, I am sure that in this case, although Claudia Maccioni has turned the camera 180 degrees to explain her fight against disease, has been the same.

Now, the idea of Claudia is seeking funds to publish a book with her story and give the profits to Fero, an organization of medical research on cancer.

Good luck and all the best Claudia!


Saturday, 6 February 2010


When I read the news headlines I was scared to death. I could hardly believe it. Was the final blow to the last, and most important, symbol of documentary photography?
I give a class that began with the creation of the Magnum photo agency in 1947, continuing with the rise of the French agencies Gamma, Sygma and Sipa in Paris in the seventies and eighties. I also refer to Cover, founded by Jordi Socias and Aurora Fierro in Spain, where I also participated since its inception.
I finish with a sad end: Sygma bought by Corbis, owned by Bill Gates, who fired all the photographers; Gamma recently in bankrupcy; Cover disappeared, absorbed by Jupiter, who then was by Getty ...
But I always end the class saying: "We still have Magnum, owned by over fifty photographers, the heirs of Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who have rejected multimillion offers by Corbis and Getty.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


I thoroughly read the various comments and changed my mind. Magnum, like the other agencies mentioned in the post , printed their black and white photos, put a tampon behind with the name of the photographer and the written explanation and sent them to magazines and newspapers that had requested. But they only sold the reproduction rights, so once published, they was obliged to return them, though (as I will explain later) some of the copies were lost on the road. Back to the agencies, they were filed in cardboard boxes, which usually had held the sheets of photographic paper.
What MSD Capital LP, the billionaire owner of Dell computers’ company bought, was the fund of 185,000 vintage prints, most of them printed in the time they were taken. These photos were taken by 103 photographers from 1930 to 1998. MSD Capital will pay $ 100 million to Magnum, which is the largest financial transaction in the history of photography.

The agreement is very good for everyone. MSD Capital will provide the collection for 5 years at Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The center will promote the collection, the most valuable in the history of photography, with exhibitions, research and scholarships. So this great file will now much more accessible to everybody.
Magnum will retain the negatives and the copyright of all pictures, now mostly digitized, thus maintaining the spirit of its founder, Robert Capa, who defended the outset that photographers should be the owners of their photos. So Dell’s company only will have the copies, not the right to reproduce then which remains to Magnum.
The injection of 100 million dollars will be a blessing for long shattered economy of the agency, and even more in these times.

I would like to explain that about 25 years ago, copies substantiated in glossy paper, size 18x24, with the tampon behind from photographers like Capa or Cartier-Bresson, could still be found in already disappeared newspapers’ files such as the Diari de Barcelona, where they had not been returned for whatever reasons. And I know a photographer who at that time realized the value of these documents were unique, and took some of those iconic images before they disappeared, as has happened on many occasions.
What a luck!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


What leads us to take a picture? In my case, and specifically in the series from my window, something that catches my attention. Surely I have seen hanging clothes on the roof opposite, although I do not remember. The reason could be because it was an image that never caught my attention. But suddenly, last weekend, it did. Why? Certainly by the colors of the clothes, the light showing through and strong winds that stirred the clothes like the sails of a sailboat.

From that photo, I forced myself to look every morning at the roof opposite and discovered the reason why the clothes did not attract my attention.
Do you realize why comparing the two images?