Friday April 20th, 2012 03:28 PM
I shot my first wedding of the year last weekend when Argiñe and Pedro celebrated their marriage in La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. The photos are a bit different than normal as they were commissioned by the restaurant owner, Ángel, for his new website.
Accordingly I spent more time than normal taking photos of the reception rooms before the couple and guests arrived. I also lingered more than usual in the kitchen which had the unexpected but highly welcome advantage in that they fed me!
My thanks to Argiñe and Pedro for “dancing” with me in the five-minute shoot we had together – you can see from the resulting photos what a relaxed, fun couple they are.
Apart from the photos for the website, I’ll also give Ángel an album and a short video slideshow to show to future wedding clients.
Wednesday April 11th, 2012 12:09 PM
When Tom Puyaubert asked me to photograph Bodegas Exopto, I wanted to show something of his passion for wine. Here is a man who swapped France for La Rioja and who loves it so much that he founded his own winery. Tom’s grapes come from one of the most picturesque parts of the region: The slopes around Ábalos. The scenery and the early morning light made for beautiful photos without need for much intervention by me.
But Tom’s winery is in a unit on an industrial estate in Laguardia. How could I show the soul of the enterprise and quality of the product in such a sterile place? The answer is through the clever use of light. In the above picture the backlighting gives a richness and purity to the grape juice. In the first photo below I wanted to cast Tom as a magician at his cauldron so I put a flash inside the vat. The white flash light turned purple when it bounced off the grapes and illuminated Tom’s face.
I also wanted to give a sense that wonderful wine can be made in the most unlikely of places and that is why I like the photo taken outside the open door showing just a hint of what goes on inside. The old wooden vats are wonderfully photogenic. I added to the warmth of the scene by using remote flashes covered in orange gel.
Light and composition are key to good photography but the value of thinking and planning shots beforehand should never be underestimated.
Tuesday March 13th, 2012 11:13 AM
There’s a well used and rarely wrong saying in English that too many chefs spoil the cooking. So you might think that getting cooks from eight of La Rioja’s choicest restaurants to work in the same kitchen is a recipe for disaster, even if it is for a charity dinner.
I spent a decent chunk of Friday night in the kitchen of Delicatto Restaurant in Logroño waiting to see if sparks would fly. The chefs, from Chef Nino, La Vieja Bodega, El Rincón del Vino, La Galería, Marisol Arriaga, El Arriero, Café Rioja & El Portalón, prepared a series of tapas and dishes for over 160 diners. There was no shortage of action in the kitchen but, thankfully, all the energy was positive.
The evening, organised by the Riojan restaurant association Ricamesa, raised €6,000 for Caritas, which fights poverty and exclusion. I’ve put a gallery of photos from the evening here.
Sunday August 28th, 2011 10:50 AM
There are many ways to add elegance and interest to images through the creative use of composition but, to my mind, one of the most effective is through symmetry and repetition. There’s something that the human brain likes about seeing a reflection or pattern in things.
I took these shots at a wedding in Ezcaray, La Rioja, in July and, looking over them again in recent days, was struck by how many of my favourite photos gained poise and balance through symmetry. I like the photo above of Cristina because of the beautiful light and also how it conveys the notion of a bride standing in the doorway of the family home about to step into a new chapter of life.
But it’s her refection in the mirror as she looks back over her shoulder which finishes the picture and adds a something a bit special.
Both in that picture and the first one below, it’s a doorframe which helps separate the different parts of the image. In the second photo the symmetry comes from the fact that Cristina’s mother and sister are both bent over in a similar way as they get ready before the ceremony. You can work out for yourself the symmetry in the third image!
You don’t want to overplay the symmetry card – it would destroy the element of surprise – but a few choice images help add panache and humour to a wedding album.
Sunday June 19th, 2011 02:39 PM
When you go out for lunch in an English pub it’s not uncommon to find yourself seated at a large table which you share with complete strangers.
The English, being a polite people, tend to offer an initial greeting to whomever they are sitting next to and then ignore them stoically. Sometimes that is how it remains for the rest of the meal. However, other times, particularly after a pint or two, an innocuous few words such as “Would you be kind enough to pass the salt?” lead to conversation and before you know it you’re friends for life. Or at least until the end of the coffee.
Communal eating is not normal in La Rioja, but Ezcaray’s Michelin-starred chef, Francis Paniego, is trying it out at Tondeluna, a new venture in Logroño with his wife Luisa Barrachina and Echaurren chef David González. They effectively are bringing some of their most successful dishes from the famous Echaurren restaurants to the region capital.
Press and public interest has been immense in the opening few days with the restaurant packed out. And hopefully enough people will have enjoyed the communal experience that they’ll be tempted back again and again.