Portraits

Ribera del Duero Wine photography - Bodegas Viña Mayor, Valladolid

Ribera del Duero Wine photography - Bodegas Viña Mayor, Valladolid

Viña Mayor winery asked me to make some portraits of its recently arrived winemaker, Almudena Alberca. The brief was for elegant, reasonably minimalist images that showed Almudena at work in the Quintanilla de Onésimo (Valladolid) winery in the heart of Ribera del Duero. It also wanted portraits of Almudena at itand also its Rueda winery - Caserío de Duero - an hour away in Villaverde de Medina (Valladolid).

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Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

It’s human nature to prefer to buy something from someone you know rather than a complete stranger. That’s why Barceló, owners of Viña Mayor and Palacio wine brands, asked me to photograph the grape harvest in its Ribero del Duero, Toro and Rioja vineyards.

The brief was to capture images that show emotion, passion and sacrifice, amongst other things. They wanted to show something of the daily lives of those who work in the vineyards and the wineries.

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La Rioja Editorial Photography - Pilgrims Walking the Camino de Santiago, La Rioja and Burgos, Spain

La Rioja Editorial Photography - Pilgrims Walking the Camino de Santiago, La Rioja and Burgos, Spain

You have to admire the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain! By the time they reach Nájera in La Rioja, they’ve already plodded 200km through the heat and are tired and suffering from blisters and still got more than 500km to go. Yet, despite the discomfort they’re an optimistic bunch and not prepared to let a bit of pain stop them.

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Portrait Photography Burgos Spain - Looney Blues Band, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain

Portrait Photography Burgos Spain - Looney Blues Band, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain

I pinched the idea for this photo from Fiona Adams who took a distinctive photo of the Beatles jumping from a wall on Euston Road, London, in 1963. I’d been leafing through a book of 1960s pop and rock star portraits in the days leading up to this shoot of the Looney Blues Band in the countryside near Fresneda, Burgos Province, Castilla y León.

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Editorial Photography Haro La Rioja Spain - The Wine Battle Haro La Rioja

Editorial Photography Haro La Rioja Spain - The Wine Battle Haro La Rioja

There’s a phrase in Spanish that I use when describing my style of portrait photography. I say I like photographing people “en su salsa”. It literally means “in their sauce” but figuratively implies that I snap away while they’re doing the things they love, be it cooking, skiing, bike riding or whatever.

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Editorial Portrait Photography Girona - The Roca Brothers, Cellar de Can Roca Restaurant, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Editorial Portrait Photography Girona - The Roca Brothers, Cellar de Can Roca Restaurant, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

I had two reoccurring thoughts in the run up to photographing the Roca brothers at their extraordinarily famous restaurant in Girona, Catalunya. The first was: “Don’t screw it up!” The second was: “How can I do something different?”

Celler de Can Roca was ranked the World’s Best Restaurant 2013 by Restaurant Magazine. The three brothers who run it - Joan, Josep and Jordi - are among the most famous chefs on the planet.

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Editorial Photography Spain - Atrio Restaurant, Cáceres, Extremadura

Editorial Photography Spain - Atrio Restaurant, Cáceres, Extremadura

Morning Calm, Korean Air’s in-flight magazine, is a champion of great editorial photography and I was chuffed to bits when they asked me to photograph chef Toño Perez for the February 2014 edition (pdf). Toño and his partner José Polo set up Atrio restaurant, in Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain, in 1986. Specialising in creating exceptional dishes from fantastic local foods (this is “Jamón Iberico” country) Atrio won its first Michelin star in 1994 and added a second 10 years later.

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Portrait Photography, La Rioja, Spain - The devotion of Rioja Winemakers

Portrait Photography, La Rioja, Spain - The devotion of Rioja Winemakers

Sports stars, successful artists and business leaders famously have it and so too, it seems to me, do the winemakers I've been visiting over the past couple of weeks. The 'it' I’m referring to is devotion to what they do.

I've been photographing a number of them for Diario La Rioja's annual wine supplement. At Marqués de Riscal in Elciego, Javier Salamero spoke with tenderness & love about the historic wines on offer. Of course you could argue that he was preaching to the converted as the photo above seems to suggest.

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Professional Photography La Rioja, Spain - Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga - Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta, Logroño

Professional Photography La Rioja, Spain - Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga - Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta, Logroño

The first thing that Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, the count of Creixell & owner of Marqués de Murrieta winery, said to me was: “How long do you need to take my portrait? One hour or two?”

Brilliant!! So often on comercial assignments, I get no more no more than 10 minutes to photograph the boss. The resulting photos are fine, and sometimes a combination of spontaneity and my inner desperation leads to surprisingly good results.

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Portrait Photography Valladolid Spain - Pablo Alvarez, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena del Duero

Portrait Photography Valladolid Spain - Pablo Alvarez, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena del Duero

I’m thrilled that a series of my photos are published the May edition of Decanter, one of the best known and respected wine magazines in the world. I’m even more thrilled that I took the photos in Bodegas Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s best known and respected wineries.

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Professional photographer San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - Photojournalism for Get Lost Magazine

Professional photographer San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - Photojournalism for Get Lost Magazine

I was last in San Sebastián seven years ago and, being the height of summer, the beach was choc-a-bloc. Standing room only, almost. I was back again last week putting together a piece and set of photos for Get Lost, an Australian travel magazine.

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