Wedding: Maite & Aitor, Santo Domingo Cathedral & Hotel Los Agustinos, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Wednesday December 3rd, 2014 08:00 AM

Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Before her wedding in Santo Domingo Cathedral and Hotel Los Agustinos in Haro, La Rioja, Maite had asked me to keep an eye out for her three-year-old niece, Alba.

As a photojournalist, I’m always following the light and the action and there’s a large chunk of spontaneity in the images. But as a professional wedding photographer it’s important to make sure key family members and guests feature in the photos. I always ask couples for a list of key people.

I like it when children are on that list. Alba is only likely to remember the wedding through the photos and hopefully she’ll be able to get the vibe of how fun the day was. I like to take photos for future generations. Maybe Maite and Aitor will have children one day and they too will be able to feel how happy we were on that autumn day in 2014.

Last week I was at a photographic conference in Sevilla and among those talking was the US photojournalist Tyler Wirken. Tyler, widely regarded as among the best wedding photographers in the world, said the following:

“The photos I make on a wedding day are not for the bride and groom. They are for people that don’t yet exist.”

Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgWedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wedding / Boda en Santo Domingo y Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial: Wooden furniture and theatre seating, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Thursday November 13th, 2014 05:30 PM

Fotografia de muebles y butacasa, Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Ezcaray is a popular holiday destination attracting people thanks to its beautiful mountainous location, excellent restaurants and hotels and, at least as we head into winter, ski resort. It’s particularly well-known among people from the Basque Country and Madrid.

But it’s also internationally famous in one particular, and rather niche, commercial sector: the manufacture of quality wooden furniture and theatre / cinema seats. As you drive into the town you are flanked on both sides of the road by furniture factories which sell their wares to France, the UK, Germany and further afield.

Garcia Hermanos is one of these long-established family-run enterprises dedicated at making high quality, environmentally sustainable furniture. They asked me to photograph their extensive range of directors’ chairs, deck chairs and other models for a forthcoming catalogue.

For these commercial jobs I use a mobile studio, setting up backgrounds, and remote lighting in a corner of the factory – it’s a lot easier than bringing tons of furniture to my studio. Catalogue photography obviously requires faithful images where you can see exactly what you’re buying. But, at least in some images, I spend quite a lot of time and thought in capturing the curves, materials, beauty and sheer essence of the pieces. Their character and soul, you might say.

High-quality products made to exacting standards require high-quality photography to distinguish them from mass-produced alternatives.

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas, Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Fotografia de muebles y butacas Ezcaray, La Rioja. Foto de James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Charlotte & Greg, Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, Basque Country

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 04:55 PM

Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org

Wedding photography is all about showing the bride looking fantastic. OK, to some extent the groom too but if you haven’t got photos of the bride at her best, then you know they’ll be problems. But wedding photography is also about showing the people around the bride (and the groom) and the relationships between them.

So I’m always looking for images that incorporate proud parents and supportive friends. Sometimes the family member is the star of the photo. Other times they’re somewhere in the background. But their presence within the composition gives context and narrative and often humour and fun to the photos. And that’s what my photography is all about. There’s a good mix of both here in these photos from Charlotte & Greg’s wedding at Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava in the Basque Country.

Before any wedding I always sit down with the couple and make a list of important family members and friends. Then I memorise their names. It may seem like a small thing but it helps win people over. As with everything in life, the details are important.

Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.orgBoda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org Boda en Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Laguardia, Alava, País Vasco | www.sturcke.org

Portraits: On the Camino de Santiago between Nájera, La Rioja, & Burgos, Castilla y León

Tuesday September 30th, 2014 10:30 AM

Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

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.

Perhaps it’s the beauty of the Rioja and Burgos landscape that keeps them going? Around Nájera and Santo Domingo the route passes through vineyards which produce Rioja’s famous wines with the hills of Sierra de la Demanda accompanying the hikers to the south. In Burgos, it’s more a mixture of forests, cereal fields and pretty villages, such as Agés.

If anyone fancies being photographed along the way I’m happy to accompany you for a few hours, recording the blood, sweat and tears. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgCamino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial photography: San Pedro Apostol Winery, Huércanos, Nájera, La Rioja, Spain

Monday September 8th, 2014 08:02 AM

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

The brief for this job was straight forward: Show the people and personalities behind San Pedro Apostol, a co-operative wine-maker based in Huércanos, near Nájera, 20km from Logroño, La Rioja. “I want the photos to reveal the love that these people put into wine making,” Sergio Fernández, of Icono Gráfico, told me in his office in Logroño. “Namely, these hands make this wine.”

San Pedro Apostol co-operative has 380 members who tend 3,000 plots around Huércanos, spreading to Nájera and towards Cenicero. It’s a highly-tuned operation that produces around 5m litres of wine a year. The co-operative’s old website and publicity photos concentrated on its profesional image, showing a modern winery full of stainless steel tanks.

But it said little about the spirit of the people involved. The plots are mostly family-owned and run. Relatives travel from across Spain to help out at key points of the year. Many plots have been in the family for generations.

We decided that I’d photograph José Domingo and his family during the growing season from early summer to harvest. I visited the annual members’ dinner, held beside the tanks in the winery, The following month I went to the village’s summer festival, meeting José Domingo’s family from Catalonia. And of course a lot of the photos concentrated on the harvest.

There are many ways to market wine and distinguish one bottle from the next. But, to me, showing the character, philosophy and dedication of those who make it trumps all others.

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

Commercial wine photography, Huércanos, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org