Ladies from Our Lady of Dolores Procession Good Friday Semana Santa Baza Spain

This morning I went to photograph the Good Friday Semana Santa procession through Baza, Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain. It was put on by Our Lady of Dolores Brotherhood and was spectacular. We are not talking about a big city performance as in Malaga or Seville. This is a small town in rural Spain. These people are all volunteers and do it for the love of it, nobody gets paid. What is encouraging is the amount of young people involved. In a country where youth unemployment is more than 50 percent some with a bleak future ahead, they still get out and do something for the community. Many people would think it is purely a religious festival or procession and it mainly is, but the Brotherhood´s are in themselves not religious organisations, thet are more akin to Unions, Buffs or Freemasons.
I took a few hundred images but for this blog post decided to concentrate on the ladies in the procession. Mainly because the procession is Our Lady of Dolores procession and well they were stunning.

Hope you like them as well.

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The Passion at Cuevas Del Campo

Late this afternoon I attended the rehearsal of the performance of the Passion Play in a tiny village in rural Spain called Cuevas del Campo. It is where, every year, about 600 of the villagers dress up in authentic costumes and perform the Passion on Good Friday. It is one of those must see activities whilst in Spain at Easter Time. These people are not professional actors, they are the townsfolk of Cuevas del Campo. They re-enact the passion and crucifixtion not for tourists or money or anything like that, but to honour their beliefs and traditions in a spectacular fashion not to be missed.

Any coments are welcome.

Sunday Project – No More

Well no photo of Sunday anymore. Why? I have been carrying out quite a bit of research and despite it being only the 4th Sunday of the year I have decided to bin it because it is not providing any benefit to me or anybody else. Stats are showing very few hits on those posts and to be honest I can understand why. There is no theme and is therefore completely random and unless I am on another assignment then I am just taking an image just for the sake of it with very little thought behind it. With very little information around the photo, why it was taken etc then why would anybody actually be interested in reading it.

What I should be doing more of is explaining things and why I do them, how I do them etc.

So as a start, I did a small photo shoot this morning. It was only mug shots for the person to send off as part of his profile as part of a competition. It was carried out in a gym, (in the squash court to be precise) where lighting is just awful. And short of getting the flash and umbrellas out it was a case of the ISO at 3200 and hope for the best. I just did not feel happy with the results which prob will suffice for what it was for but I just did not feel satisfied. Which at the end of the day is what it is all about for me. I have to feel emotionally involved in what I am doing and I didnt. Is that true of all professional photographers? I dont want to just earn money and not feel as though I have not done a good job.

So this blog is going to go back to the Swindon News/Photojournalism and I am not going to try to combine other things with it.

Likewise I am going to re-design my website to provide a better experience, better show case for my better images from both the UK and Spain and try to make it more interesting.

TotalSwindon Train in Spain Mainly on the Plain

Well, I am back in Swindon now and back to covering Swindon issues but just wanted to put up a post of me on one of my training runs in the hills above the village of Freila in Spain where I have been staying for the last three weeks. I have to say the running around there is absolutely spectacular on some days.
On a few of the days I went out the door in thick mist (Freila is at 800 mts) only to run through the cloud base out into the sunshine and views that I have to say were just stunning, where the hill tops and mountains were poking out above the clouds. Just absolutely stunning.
I will put some photos up in another post of the views, I never carried a camera whilst running but did walk up there and take shots.
Many thanks to my girlfriend Jacquie (who lives in Freila) for taking these shots.

La Calahorra a little bit of Italy in Spain

About a mile into the Sierra Nevada national park there is a gem that should be visited.
La Calahorra Castle or more rightly Palace is a 16th Century building the outside was built by the Spanish in the Spanish style. The interior however is entirely Italian. It was built by craftsmen brought in from Italy with materials shipped in from Italy.
It is one of those places that if you go to the local cafe and talk to the owner he will give the man with the key to the castle a call who will turn up with a massive great key and take you up and give you a guided tour of it.

Well worth the effort.

Freila Three Kings Procession Andalucia Spain

Late this afternoon all over Spain the Three Kings Procession took place. I had the privilage of taking part in the procession in the tiny rural village of Freila in Andalucia. It has to be pointed out that this procession is not put on for the tourist, it is to mark 12th night and Epiphany tomorrow and in the case of Freila is very authentic. The three Kings travelled around the village on the back of a tractor and distributed sweets and presents to children (and adults) of the village.
Tonight all the children have to clean their shoes and leave them at the door so that the Three Kings can deliver their presents. The children then open them all in the morning, much like Christmas morning.

It was so nice to see that despite the economic problems that Spain is suffering that traditions like this continue and are very well supported.

An Evening of Flamenco in Freila

Many people get the opportunity to watch a ‘flamenco show’ when on holiday in Spain, although some are often ‘produced’ with the tourist in mind and don’t always reflect the true passion of the dance and the music. Freila is a small, rural, Andalucian village, with it’s roots truly embedded in Flamenco. Last night I had the opportunity to join the locals in the village to watch a concert of Flamenco music and dance. The main artist was Elena Romera, a professional Flamenco singer and dancer based in Granada. The difference was that Elena was born, and grew up in Freila, in fact her mother and father still live here and her father (a builder) actually built my girlfriends house. She was delighted to perform in her home village, no more so than the local villagers who welcomed her in true Freilican style. A wonderful evening of song, dance, colour, costumes and real Andalucian Flamenco.

The Pain in Spain …….

Well, this isn´t a blog about news in Swindon but the other place I spend a lot of time. My girlfriend lives in a small village in rural Andalucia, Spain called Freila. It is not the Spain of tourists and English bars, but one where there are very few other English people and you really need to be able to speak Spanish. In England we hear all about how the Spanish are having it really hard at the moment. Well it is true. There is a very limited social welfare system here in Spain and it is very easy and very common for people here to have absolutely no income whatsoever nor any benefits. Entire families are thrown out on to the streets and it is only because it is a very family orientated society and families look after each other that most are just about surviving. But what about those who have no family. Suicides have already taken place by some of the homeless.
The photos above are just a small view of what is happening. The mainstay of the local income has been hardhit by the early heavy rains and the intense heat of the summer leading to shrivelled and dry olives. Some small land owners are not harvesting their olives at all as the sale price is so low it is not economically worth it and so the olives are left to rot on the trees. Also even in a tiny rural village like Freila where houses and caves are very cheap, they are not selling or being left half way through being built.
In England we get the impression that all Spaniards live on the coast, own bars or hotels and earn quite a lot of money from tourists. That is definitely not my experience of what is going on over here.