Tuesday March 24th, 2015 11:21 AM
There are 15 new dishes this year at Ezcaray’s two-Michelin star restaurant El Portal del Echaurren, and I’ve had the pleasure to photograph and then sample them! Chef Francis Paniego has continued with his theme of using out-of-fashion animal cuts in surprising and original ways. For example, the “razor clams” are actually pigs’ tendons.
Francis says he has brightened up some of the offal dishes and it’s true that the lamb sweetbreads and the bloody risotto are a visual delight! A recent trip to Mexico made him think about how to incorporate paprika, which is used lots in Riojan cooking, with chocolate and the result brings joy to any photographer’s eyes!
The great thing about photographing at the Portal is that there is abundant natural light so you really see the dishes as they are. This time, apart from our classic shots, we also shot lots of the dishes from above, in part to add variation to the portfolio and also to show them really well on the plate.
Tuesday March 3rd, 2015 07:00 AM
The photographic brief for this commercial job immediately had me hooked! Alvaro Sordo is a top interior designer based in Galdakao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, just outside Bilbao. However, instead of asking me to produce images of commercial interiors and family homes he’s worked on, he wanted portraits that showed his professional approach with his clients. Portraits that transmit his philosophy of close working relationships, collaboration, communication, his personal integrity and sensitivity. Like me Alvaro knows that an excellent client relationship leads to fantastic results.
So we met up with Alvaro Garrido, the Michelin star chef of Bilbao’s Restaurante Mina and his wife Lara. I wanted an image that was dominated by bonhomie and that showed something of the beautiful interior of the restaurant Alvaro had created. In truth, my job wasn’t that complicated: I set up a remote flash, blended it into the the ambient light and let them get on with it…
Thursday January 29th, 2015 11:00 AM
Bodegas Tondonia, in Haro, La Rioja, produces some of Spain’s most special wines. Last year, when Falstaff magazine sent me to photograph Restaurante Can Roca, Tondonia was among the wines they served at lunch afterwards.
Family-run for generations, the beautiful winery breathes history: the century old black and white pictures on the walls; the massive wooden wine vats, the mould growing on the underground tunnels’ walls, the uniquely beautiful glass walled gallery overlooking the courtyard.…
It was Vero’s dream to marry here ever since she visited Haro. When a couple marry a long way from home – they live in Barcelona – it’s really important for the photographer to show the destination. So apart from the obvious shots in front of a big Tondonia sign, I’m always keeping an eye out for details: a barrel in the background or anything else that provides narrative.
This was a small wedding for family and friends with the team from La Vieja Bodega, in nearby Casalarreina, providing an excellent lunch. Simple, informal and happy in a beautiful winery – a fantastic day.
Wednesday January 14th, 2015 04:48 PM
The Echaurren gastronomic hotel in Ezcaray, La Rioja, has been in the same family for five generations, gradually building up a reputation as a very special place to eat and stay in northern Spain. But that doesn’t mean it rests on its laurels.
In the four years I’ve been living in Ezcaray, its Portal restaurant has gained first one and then a second Michelin star.
Despite the tricky economic times in Spain, the Echaurren has also been investing in a programme of renovating its bedrooms, and recently joined the Relais & Chateaux association of luxury hotels. Quite simple the family wants their guests to have the time of their lives when they visit.
Ferran Fisas’ photographic brief for the new website was simple: Show the enjoyment and happiness of staying at the hotel; that it’s a special place where people of all ages can relax in style. In essence produce images that show a gastronomic hotel that gets the balance just right between quality, fun, tradition and modernity.
Monday December 22nd, 2014 10:05 AM
I’ve taken around 50,000 photos this year and I’ve been looking back over some of them trying to work out which ones I like best. To be honest, I keep changing my mind about my favourites perhaps because I can see faults in all of them; things that I’ll try to do better in 2015. That said, all of them are good examples of photos with personality: a fusion of the subjects’ and my own.
The above photo shows Francis Paniego, a two star Michelin chef who’s reached national and international fame with the Portal de Echaurren restaurant but, somehow, still finds himself being having to put up with the attention of his elder brother. The next is of the Roca brothers of the world-famous Cellar de Can Roca and this time I wanted to show Joan, the elder brother, as the responsible one while his younger siblings have all the fun.
The third photo, of Toño Perez in Atrio restaurant, is pure photojournalism: I touched nothing and directed nothing; it’s just him at work in his kitchen.
The next couple of photos are good examples of how I try to add elegance, style and life to group shots. I like the product shots of the cocktails and the plate of vegetables because they challenged me technically. They’re good examples of how I went to the shoot with an idea in my mind and worked out how to light it. And then I had to be quick: the whipped cream in the right-hand cocktail and the steam on the vegetables lasted for only a few seconds.
The wedding shots are all about capturing beautiful, tender, elegant moments in life in a really authentic way. And finally there are some wine shots because I think so often commercial photography fails to transmit the passion of the people who devote their lives to their work.