A wrong way to see it

Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


Photography is a creative activity based in technique. As other creative activities, like painting, are without having to carry this charge of technicity.

Maybe the reason is that painting is more associated to a tool – the brush – than to a machine – the camera -, but without technique we won’t be able to paint anything.

It is said that technique is something we need to learn to forget it. Maybe “forget” it is not the right word, I prefer “absorb” but, in any case, technique is always two plus two equal four, That’s it, and although in can look hard for some people, everybody, sooner or later, will understand it.

Anyway, the obsession about technical subjects usually means forgetting what is really important: all the stuff related to visual culture and the ability to build an image and understand it.

In basic photography courses there are two things that usually surprising me. First thing is people who has interest on photography, enough to invest time and money to learn, but they don’t have any kind of visual reference, any author who they like. Is like taking a writing course without knowing who Cervantes was.

Second thing is the obsession of people about technical matters, not thinking about the need to build the image, to have a personal vision of how things are and how they want to represent them in a picture. And that drives us to the more interesting point: the most popular session in courses is the one related to composition: how to frame a picture and how to understand it.

Is very interesting to see how students discover a kind of new world that they have in front of their noses, and how they realize that, if they want to improve their pictures, this is the really first step, never technique or computers. We always need to frame; no device is able to do it for us.

How to look, the ability to build an image is something that we carry with us, we just need to take conscience of that and work on it.

That is about the ability of observing and understanding a picture, something that everybody should be able to do in a world where most information come thru images, and very few people is aware of that, something that partly explains why some “professional” works are accepted although they have a serious lack of quality in this aspect (it is not just about being a cheap work, it’s about the ignorance of the receiver of the pictures).

The most difficult comes after: building a consistent speech with your pictures, going from grammar to narrative. Having something to explain and knowing how.

As musician Jordi Savall says “You can teach everything but the essential”.

FEDME (Spanish Mountaineering Federation):

Incompetence? Ignorance? Or bad faith?

Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


 FEDME (the Spanish Mountaineering Federation) just published in his website a call to cover “video and photo services in sports events co-organized by FEDME”.

What is interesting to us, image professionals, is what FEDME offers and what gives in return. Just because professionals (people who make their living with this, who invest in their job skills and who pay taxes to be allowed to work) are tired of being insulted in a world were almost nothing can be done without images.

What FEDME offers? They offer a fare, to cover an event, of 800€ VAT included, which makes 661,16€ as a real fare.

What FEDME is asking for? They ask the professional to assume the cost of staying in place (food, bed and highway tolls if any), to be in place the day before, to propose improving ideas to FEDME (¿), to assist to FEDME meetings whenever they consider, to design and audiovisual plan about the event, to record and edit a ¡12 minutes video! In no more than 48h after the event, and to get minimum 70 good quality pictures in what they call “high quality and low quality”. To send in real time video and photo images and, of course, to have all necessary stuff to do so … All of this in a weekend (call the plumber in  a weekend…) and working where you are risking your gear.

It’s obvious for any real professional that this can’t be dons for just one person. Being optimistic, we are going to need two.

Some fast calculations: previous day means travel and preparation, race day, following day trip back home, after that, a day to edit and prepare images. FEDME themselves, consider in the very same document (section 15 point 18) that sleeping and food (a cost for the professional, do not forget that) means 100€ day/person. Two people, three days in place:: 600€.

Wu must add the fourth day work, taxes (IRPF y Social Security in Spain) material and vehicles wear, image storage …

FEMDE doesn’t look for slaves, It is worst, they look for people willing to finance their communication needs while thinking that they are earning 800€.

We are noy going to talk about work conditions, thought by someone with no idea of what working in an outdoor sports event is. It’s just evil? It’s just ignorance? Who knows?

FEDME sirs:

  • Probably that’s legal (slavery was it in other times),but is absolutely indecent.
  • I’m sure you will find someone to do that: world is plenty of people with cameras and other jobs willing to “play photographer” until they discover how much does that cost.
  • It’s obvious that people in charge don’t know anything about images (¿“resolution” in Mb? For God’s sake) and don’t know anything about what represents what they are asking for.
  • If you don’t have money, forget about images. And, as it appears, images are so important, look for the money in your budget.
  • Don’t forget that “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys”, but maybe that’s the real problem.

If any doubt, you can contact me.

“Recording existence”


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


I’m going to start with a short story.

In the beginning of 2016, I had a phone call in the magazine’s office. Someone asked about a picture published in a section about “Women runners”.

First of all, this kind of phone calls are a little disturbing: you never know what will happen next.

But the story is as follows: the man calling asked if he could have a copy of one of the published pictures where his girlfriend, Fany Olaria, appeared. She had passed away one year after I photographed her. He explained that to me in a very emotional conversation, where he expressed his happiness about finding the face of her in the magazine, looking happy and enjoying one of the activities she liked the most. The man, Jaume Bernat – now dear “Jaumet” – is nowadays someone with I have a special relationship that was born that day when we talked on the phone. He, of course, got the picture.

Further than just food for the ego and the recording of a fake reality, photography has a sociocultural play which is keeping the memory of those moments that once were and never will be back.

Something that the actual trivialization of photography is diluting.

This is not new: in the XIX century, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, AKA “Nadar” (a big name in photography history) complaint in his memories about that.

Everybody loves looking at pictures, discovering how things were, remembering how places and people looked like… but, anyway, often taking pictures looks suspicious.

Why are you photographing that? It is a common question when taking pictures of non-usual subjects like “nice” things or people acting as if they were happy. Too often, photography has become a record of unreality trying to record not what it is but what we would like it to be, when what is really interesting is what we really live.

The strength of the picture in the story at the beginning of this text comes from spontaneity, from the reaction to the chance of being recorded in a unique moment when someone is honestly happy.

When someone, whatever the reason, needs to urgently abandon home, pictures are one of those things that are always kept. Those pictures that talk about our existence and relation with our beloved.

I think is important to keep this in mind when we trivialize the photographic act.

Obviously, not all pictures mean to be transcendent, or have the need – or the chance – to be so, but is important to be aware of what we do when making a photograph: we are recording life and, as photographer José Manuel Navia said, “- Every photographer has always the obligation of taking the best picture he/she is capable”.

For it is our memory.



Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


For people who, like me, have been taking pictures using film since more than thirty years, it’s amazing that other people are surprised that film still exists.

“- Can you still buy film?” It’s a usual question, even with people which is in the photography world.

What’s surprises me is that, usually, they want to know about the advantage of using film.

And the best is that there’s no advantage at all: there’s not a question about advantages.

We tend to binary thinking: “If this option is good, then that other is bad” something that, most of the times, is absurd.

Nobody thinks that the invention of the pen would mean the end of aquarelle, for example. That then would be the idea when we talk about film or digital. Two different ways to get a similar result.

Anyway, nobody doubts about the goodness of digital (me included) but why so many people doubt about film?

First thing is understanding that, from a technical point of view, the photographic moment is the same, no matter film or digital.

For people not used to shoot film, the first disturbing thing is the fact that you can’t instantly check what you’ve done, something that, at the end is better for the creative process: you need to concentrate in what you are doing and there’s a moment when, in your mind, red letters saying “Got it!” appears and, more than that, not being able to instantly check means that you always think about what is going to come, not what it already happened.

In the same terms, having some limitations about the production (quantity) because of the amount of shots you can do, forces you to think much more about what are you doing. Shooting more do not guarantee you to get better results. Never.

Money is usually another problem. Obviously, if you can’t, you can’t, but most of the times is just a question of priorities: I prefer a roll of film rather than a drink.

Shooting with film also allows me to use those special cameras I’m in love with. A mechanical instrument will always have something magic.

And, finally, darkroom is one more of the good thing of film. A place where, in addition to sight, touch and smell come to the show and help to set an special relation between the photographer and the print. And I’m not talking about nostalgia.

“When all tapes will be erased, when reproducing digital support won’t be possible, maybe someone will find a piece of film and will hold it in backlaight”

” (“A whore’s profession” David Mamet)

“The camera doesn’t matter”


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


This is a sentence that, even if true, must be explained.

It’s obvious that, if there’s someone without knowledge or interest, no matter how good is the camera: good results won’t come.

But it doesn’t mean that the camera it is not important.

The camera is the link between the scene and the photographer, the tool that will allow the author to express himself.

Saying that “the camera doesn’t matter” is just an advertising slogan.

If we think about that from the professional side, is as if all pros who need to spend lots of money in expensive cameras are silly people.

From a personal side, an author side, the camera is a very important thing, with some features far beyond from the strictly technical.

People usually think about cameras from the technical side, forgetting that most technical features on most cameras are useless.

Technical features aside, I need to feel comfortable with my cameras; I need to like them, I need to feel them right on my hand. I love watching them, touching them, holding them… even hearing them: I love this smacking discreet sound of some shutters that act in my mind as Pavlov’s dog’s food: it keeps me concentrated, it confirms me that I got it. And it is not the same sound in all cameras…

Does that mean that I make better pictures with a camera or another? No. It just means that I feel like taking pictures even more than usual and, more important, I enjoy even more the fact of photographing, which implies being in touch with a magic box that is far more than a simple tool.

I love my cameras aging, looking the paint vanishing under the constant touch of my fingers… In other words, I love my cameras accumulating all experiences I have lived and registered with them. Something that is becoming harder in a world of plastics and electronics and planned obsolescence. More than a tool, my cameras are trip mates. This kind of mates who never fail.

“If you do it right, don’t do it for free” (Joker)


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


In a previous post I made a mention about working for free or very low fares. It’s maybe time to say something about it.

They say that if you work on what you love, it will be as if you were not working. That’s true. But the problem comes when your job is other’s people hobby.

That often means a situation based on the neo liberal concept “do whatever you want” that sounds very good but implies not considering the consequences (“I, me, myself, with me…”)

One of the reasons why people think that they can use a picture without paying for it, is that lots of people who produce pictures are not professionals and they can afford to give their images for free or, what’s worst, they can give them for a ridiculous fee, because they have another source of incomes. I want to believe that they do that without thinking about the consequences for professional photographers.

Sometimes people say that they have the right to take pictures, and that’s of no discussion, of course. What I want to talk about is the fact of giving a service to an organization (company, club or whatever) for free (or almost). And why? Usually because they can, because they don’t have the obligations (taxes, gear…) of a professional.

No photographer will say anything against competence, one of the self-defense reasons coming from working-for-free people. Competence is always good, but playing under the same rules.

Working for free – or almost – means closing the doors to the chance of becoming a professional one day: those who one day had your job for free, will never pay you in the future. That’s a fact.

Take pictures, build a book, show your job and try to get paid for it. That’s the way, but it demands time, effort and, if you aren’t good enough, you will fail.

The other side is people who get the pictures for free or fares under cost, without considering that “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.

And a professional can’t work for a price that not even cover the cost of the job.

And the fact of paying is not related to the possible toughness of the job. Is related to the effectivity, the reliability and the quality of the job.  

Thinking that a job that you enjoy doesn’t deserve to be paid, is a slave mentality.

If as non-professional photographer can assume the exigence of the job, and the pictures are good enough, what must be done is getting well paid for it, as well as paying taxes in consequence.

I’m not saying not to take pictures, I’m talking about getting well paid for your job. It would be better for everybody.

“Select a space, decide an instant”


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


What’s a photography? When it becomes just an image?

I think this is only a photographer’s matter: the author is the only one who really knows. But the first thing would be defining what a photography is. In my opinion, a photography is the result of what’s called “the photographic act”, meaning “selecting a space and deciding a moment” 

That’s the point of my way to understand photography. The point is what we got and when, what can we do in this “photographic act”.

This is not good neither bad, in a hypothetic list of my 25 images, some of them are the result of a severe reframing: Arnold Newman’s gorgeous portrait of Igor Stravinsky, i.e 

Arnold Newman

But I think that the peak of a photography creation is this moment when the eye is able to manage space and content and decide a precise moment. A unique experience which is the base of my photographic experience.

Each one tries to optimize his photographic production his way, but “post photographic act” corrections are not the process that makes me enjoy photography, no matter if I talk as an author or as a professional.

Often, when discussing about that, people refer to “little corrections” to avoid undesired elements or to correct composition mistakes.

Two thinks to say about it. First, what is the problem in assuming imperfection? We will do it better next time! Second, up to what point we accept reframing? It’s easy to extract a good image from another, but after that nobody can say that he/she has made this picture.

A good example of what I mean is the image of Poland photographer Stepan Rudik, disqualified from WPF in 2010 because he eliminated some disturbing element of the contest picture.

Stepan Rudik

As a documentary photographer I think that’s unacceptable, although everyone can do no matter what with his personal work. But, for me, the surprising point is that the picture in contest has no relation with the original one, the one taken by the photographer:

Stepan Rudik

Having seen the picture, look at my eyes and tell me that the photographer has taken the photography on WPF contest: I honestly think the answer is no.

It is not “purism”, and I’m not saying that’s something not to be done, I’m just explaining that it is not the way I understand my photography and why. It is just to guess how I enjoy most the chance of freezing time with photography. That’s all.

Setting the rules


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.

And, about the subject of this post, do not forget that I’m writing from the south of Pyrenees…


This is a subject long time ago kept in my mind, and I was thinking about waiting a little to touch it, but now is the moment because, one more time, a colleague has troubles about one of his pictures being published for a brand in a social media without permission.

Something that happens too often.

“Things are for free in socials” some say, “It is not my job” others say, “I didn’t know” say some supposed to be professionals that should be knowing…

Usually, the photographer is a nice guy until the moment to ask for money compensation arrives.

It shouldn’t be like that, but most photographers have no trouble about the use of a picture by a particular in a personal post

But a different thing is when this person has – or looks for – any kind of sponsor and then, he tags or mention brands. Then this post becomes a commercial action, and is the brand who have to provide the pictures, paying for them, as some brands do. Apply the same concept to the so-called influencers.

And then we have brands and distributors that keep their media without assuming what that does mean. In the past, they wouldn’t propose an add with a non-authorized picture. Why in socials is like that? More than Internet’s “free of charge concept” there’s the incompetence of some professionals, some so-called community manager, who (no matter if the essence of their job is managing images) they have no idea of what are they doing when they use a stolen picture (stolen = without authorization). And when advised, some try to make appear the photographer as de evil one.

Only for educational purposes a picture can be used without permission, and a commercial post in a brand’s profile have not “educational purpose”.

There’s no money to keep a social media profile? Let’s forget about it. Ah! You need it for your company? Think about a budget for that. Ah! There’s no budget? Then, there’s no social media. Is that simple.

A different think is non-professional photographers that corrupt the market giving their work for free. But this is another point and I will be back on it in the future.

It’s a little sad talking about that in a second post in a blog. But when it’s necessary, it must be done.

A blog about photography


Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:

This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.


Years ago, someone asked me to write a blog. I didn’t see who could be interested about my thoughts.

Those who know me well know that I’m not usually paying attention about what others do. Always, when possible, I’ve been following my own personal direction, and I think now is the moment. Some of my friends call me “classic”. I don’t now if that’s right, but is a term that I liked.

In all those years, I’ve been writing more than I could have imagined. I think that has given me some skills – I apologize to those who really know how to write – on this.

And my experience as a professional photographer, author and photography instructor gave me a privileged point of view when I think about why I do things the way I do them.

I will always expose a personal point of view, always arguable and just pretending to make readers think about why they do things the way they do them.

The essence: “How” is always more important than “What”, in most things in life.

I will talk about my way to understand photography, about the actual problems of most professional photographers, about the trivialization of photography… things that I’ve been learning during all those years working on this great thing that freezes time.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but nobody says what happens when we have a thousand and one words.

Just in case, the original text of this blog will never have more than a thousand words: I want to assure the value of a picture.

Welcome and apologies for daring!