La Rioja

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

Photographing the Wine Battle, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Monday July 7th, 2014 11:50 AM

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

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.

The words take on a more literal meaning in these photos of last week’s Wine Battle in Haro, La Rioja, the town’s famous St Peter’s Day festival which is increasingly drawing an international crowd.

Soon after dawn thousands of people hike up Riscos de Bilibio, a hill just outside the northern Spanish town in the heart of the Rioja wine region. The path narrows as you reach the top and is lined by rows of people who throw wine over you. The exact origins of this custom are somewhat fuzzy but it’s nevertheless appropriate that the town that calls itself the Capital of Rioja should have a sensational wine festival.

Professional photographers will often tell you that if you want to feel the image you need to get close to the action and shoot with a wide angle lens. On this occasion that meant getting my oldest camera, wrapping it in plastic bags, crossing my fingers and getting stuck in…

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Product and Commercial Pics: Neosens & The Art Company shoes, Quel, Arnedo, La Rioja, Spain

Tuesday June 24th, 2014 01:10 PM

Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org

The Art Company, based in Quel, near Arnedo, La Rioja, is one of the larger manufacturers in northern Spain and sells its classy ranges of shoes all over the world. It specialises in distinctive, high-quality, hand-made shoes. It may be a traditional product but it comes with a modern twist and this forward thinking also applies to the firm’s marketing: It invited nine bloggers from Germany, France and Spain to visit the factory in Quel and try its latest Neosens and Art collections.

The first day of the two-day trip was in Ezcaray, the idea being to show a shoe from La Rioja in one of the region’s prettiest towns. My job as photographer was to provide the bloggers with fashion photos for their websites and also take some reportage images for the company.

The next day we visited the factory in Quel, near Arnedo, in the morning and later the bloggers were given choices of colours, soles, laces and told to design their own pair of Art Company shoes.

Switching between reportage photography, where I don’t intervene with the subject, to fashion photography, where I’m constantly asking models to do this or that, was a great mental exercise for me. The fact there were nine bloggers who all needed quality shots really kept me on my toes!

The bloggers were: Estelle Segura, Chloé Gattison, Anne-Laure Pierre, Kathrin Wittich, Marie Heid, Franzeska Albredt, Cecilia Quintana, Jeffrey Herrero & Aminta.

Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org Los zapatos de The Art Company y Neosens, Quel, La Rioja | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Black and white photography at La Vieja Bodega restaurant, Casalarreina, La Rioja, Spain

Friday June 13th, 2014 02:26 PM

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Many famous photographers shot many or all of their most evocative images in black and white, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa being among the first two to spring to mind. And not just because they had no other option. Paolo Pellegrin won Photographer of the Year last year with a largely black and white portfolio.

Black and white photography reduces a colourful world to different tones and, in doing so often simplifies a scene. Simple can be better, resulting in more powerful images. Not every photo works better in black and white, far from it, but some certainly do.

The photo above, taken during a wedding at the excellent La Vieja Bodega restaurant, in Casalarreina, near Haro, La Rioja, is a case in point.

I was reminded of this during a two-hour mentoring session this week with the renown British wedding photographer, Jeff Ascough. When I moved to Spain four years ago I always offered my wedding clients the option of black and white photographs. And the offer is still there! If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial & Product Photos: CVNE Winery, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Monday February 24th, 2014 09:16 AM

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Where’s Wally books are popular among young children and, ahem, not so young children too sometimes! I had them in mind in the days leading up to this shoot at Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. A family run business founded in 1879 and based in Haro, CVNE is one of La Rioja’s most famous and acclaimed wineries.

The brief was simple: take some largely reportage shots which discretely include the winery’s logo. The marketing team are always being asked to supply images to national and international press and magazines and wanted photos that included branding, but in a subtle manner. Can you spot the branding in these photos?

The reportage part done, they also wanted some product photos. Photos of wine bottles are often shot against a white background which, apart from being dull, are largely incapable of saying much about the contents of the bottle. If you’ve got a great wine, like Contino in the bottom photo, why not add a bit of panache to the photo?

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

CVNE winery_La_Rioja_Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org