La Rioja

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

Idoya & El Vasco’s wedding in Santo Domingo de la Calzada cathedral, La Rioja

Thursday November 7th, 2013 10:30 AM

Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org

I’ve shot a couple of weddings in Santo Domingo de la Calzada this year but this was the first one in the town’s famous cathedral. Each year thousands of pilgrims on the way to Santiago pass through its doors, many keen to see the legendary cockerel and hen. They live in a hutch overlooking the pews which you can make out in the ninth photo below.

Inside, the cathedral is stunning and huge. I want to show the size of the building in my pictures, which is why I took a number of wide angle shots. The couple may look the size of ants but you get the feeling of the splendour of the setting.

I move around lots during a wedding ceremony – as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. Subtlety is a is an important skill for a photographer.

By mixing wide shots with close-up shots taken during key moments in the ceremony, I build up a range of pictures showing this part of the wedding.

There is a portfolio of the day, including the reception in Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, here.

Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org Foto de Boda Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. Foto © James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org