La Rioja

Commercial photography: A special place to stay, Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Wednesday January 14th, 2015 10:10 AM

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

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.

The 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.

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial & Wedding: My favourite photos of 2014

Monday December 22nd, 2014 10:05 AM

Commercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

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.

Happy holidays!!

Food and Portrait Photographer, Catalonia, Spain | www.sturcke.orgFood and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org1405Commercial_Photographer_La_Rioja_Spain_Sturcke_0003Commercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Cocktail Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Food Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWedding and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWedding and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial wine and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgWine and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.orgCommercial and Portrait Photographer, La Rioja, Spain | www.sturcke.org

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

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