03 February 2016
03 February 2016 - Written by Gemma Padley
In his image of a couple at a religious procession in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain, Sebastián Bruno reflects upon cultural customs that transcend the passage of time.
© Sebastián Bruno, from the series Duelos y Quebrantos
This image is one of the first I took as part of my ongoing series, Duelos y Quebrantos, which loosely translates as grief and sorrow. In this work, I retrace the journey that the fictitious adventurer Don Quixote made across Castilla La Mancha in central Spain. It is a personal journey, but one that at the same time explores the lives of the people living in this part of the country.
In a way this image was the one that started it all off. Two years ago I was visiting my family in La Mancha. I was there at Easter and took this image during a religious procession in the town. From there I moved on to take more images in and around the area where I was staying. At that time I wasn’t thinking in terms of a specific project, but it eventually grew out of the images I took during my stay.
I cannot say the people in the town were particularly receptive with regards towhat I was trying to do. Wandering through a strange town with a camera can getyou a few odd looks. I responded by putting the flash into their faces.
The way I shoot is about isolating a particular moment and emphasising something that could so easily get lost in the crowd. I moved from one side of the procession to the other, and saw this couple passing by. I was shooting something else, I turned and there they were. I didn’t want to show anything that was around them - I wanted to take them out of the context of the procession, so I looked for a way to just highlight these people.
I was inspired by Cristina García Rodero, a Spanish photographer and member of Magnum Photos who photographed during processions and festivals in small towns in Spain. Her work is inspirational but I didn’t want to reference it directly - I wanted to get away from it.
It’s difficult to tell when this image was taken - whether recently or fifty years ago – and in a way this plays into the whole idea of how this part of Spain is stagnating, a theme I explore in the series.
I shot lots of images during this procession but this one stood out. There is something about the man’s expression - one of devotion - and the way he’s clasping his hands together that captures your attention. You wonder - what’s happening to him in this moment?
Sebastián Bruno is an Argentine / Spanish photographer, named one of BJP's 'Ones to Watch' in 2016.
Gemma Padley is a freelance writer and editor on photography, based in the UK.
Behind the Picture tells the story of an image by a photographer from the Photographic Museum of Humanity’s online community.
Since 2012 PHmuseum's articles have always been free and without ads. Every year we work to keep you informed and invite you to discover the work of hundreds of photographers. If you enjoy reading us, this can be a nice way to give back and support our independent organisation, granting us more means to increase the quality and number of contents. Thank you!Donate