Friday, 23 April 2010


When someone important you have known dies ,all the memories you have stored come suddenly. I photographed Samaranch many times. At his home in Pau Casals in Barcelona, at his summer home in Santa Cristina d'Aro, in the offices of La Caixa ... But the one I remember most was at the hotel where he lived in Lausanne.
It was in the early eighties when I worked assiduously for Interviú. The magazine, then at its prime, had initiated a very ambicious series in which Camilo José Cela was going to interview the fifty most important Spaniards among which was, of course, Juan Antonio Samaranch. The photographer who accompanied him was a heavyweight of Spanish photography, César Lucas, who was who started the photography section of El País in its begginning. Then he moved ,as head of photography, to Interviú and was one of the reasons why the magazine reached the one million copies thanks to the nude photos of Marisol that Cesar took.

It happened that when everything was scheduled to travel to Lausanne for Cela to interview Samaranch, Cesar had a dislocated shoulder that prevented him completely from taking photos.
The management decided to send me . Quite an honor because it meant that they considered me the second best photographer, at least for this assignement. I flew with Cela to Lausanne and in the runway a car with a chauffer picked us up in front of the aircraft steps without passing customs or anything, as if we were the prime minister and his entourage of a foreign country. We stayed at the same hotel as Samaranch, a five-star, of course. Cela told me he would dine with the president of the IOC and the next day I could take the pictures.
While waiting in the hotel hall for Samaranch, the future Nobel literature laureate pulled a notebook where he wrote down everything that could serve for future novels and articles. This is what he wrote: "The place was full of old ladies deserving to be killed in an Agatha Christie novel." Cool, isn't it?

I inspected my room. It had a terrace with a spectacular view over Lausanne and the Lake Leman I opened the bathroom door, cabinets and another door that opened into a suite. Nobody was there. I had a look and from what I saw, I figured that belonged to Samaranch for his photos and personal items. It seemed strange, but he had no terrace overlooking the lake. "For security reasons? My room would be one in which he housed visitors, friends, etc. The fact that the communicating door was not locked could be interpreted in different ways.

The next day I did the photo shooting with my Multiblitz strobes.

When I finished I said: "Mr. Samaranch, I would like to take you a picture with the lake behind ", opened the door and took him to the terrace of my room. He did not move an eyebrow and posed for the photo. It was the best of the series and I resold it many times through Cover, my stock agency. But when I returned to my room after dinner, the door leading to the suite of the International Olympic Committee president was locked and barred.

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