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Running of the Bulls

July 1953

Entrance of the Bulls. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

When I was 22 and stationed in France with the U.S. Army, I went to Pamplona, Spain to photograph the San Fermin Festival. I had just read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and, inspired by it, I decided to see Pamplona for myself while on leave. Little did I know I would actually run into Hemingway. Armed with my first good camera, a 35mm Contax, I attempted to capture the excitement and exotic charm of the festival. Later, this portfolio landed me my first photography job in New York City.   

Flamenco Dancer Couple. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Dancer with Flower. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

As I was walking around Pamplona with my new camera, I came across this flamenco troupe, and they agreed to pose for me. We went into a backyard where they were rehearsing.

On the way to the bullring. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Bulls in the street. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

The bulls are coming! Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

These photographs was shot from a balcony of a room where I was staying at 5:30 in the morning. Today "La Corrida" doesn't start until 8am so the tourists don't have to get up that early. A room with this kind of view now rents for $5,000.

Antonio Ordoñez with Stern. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Traje de Luces. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

How did I meet Ordoñez? I was staying in a gritty third-class hotel where some of the picadors were staying. When I told them I was a photographer, they told me they could introduce me to Ordoñez, who, with Dominguín, was the most famous bullfighter in Spain at the time. I managed to photograph him in his room as he was getting ready for the fight- pictured is the suit of light that Ordoñez was going to wear that afternoon. In the background you can see him getting dressed.


Ordoñez on his way to the Bullfight. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


The crowd. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Entrance of the Matadors. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Picador at Work. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Entrance of the Bulls. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Ordoñez' cape work. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


La Muerte. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Suerte de Matar. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Suerte de Matar. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Dancing in the Street. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Rooftop view of the 'corrida's' street. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Chance encounter with Ernest Hemingway. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

As I was strolling through Pamplona, I recognized Ernest Hemingway talking to some acquaintances. He had returned to Pamplona for the San Fermin bullfight after a 23-year absence. In The Sun Also Rises the character of Pedro Romero is based on the fighter Cayetano, the father of Antonio Ordoñez. In 1953 Hemingway would see Ordoñez fight for the first time. When his little group broke up, I walked with him to the arena. We were fifteen minutes early, and he invited me to sit down and have a glass of wine with him. We had a nice conversation, talking about the bulls that afternoon. A nice memory.


Pamplona man with Puppet. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Franco's Guardia Civil giving me the eye. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


General. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Parade. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Flamenco Dancers. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Two girls and two soldiers. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 


Stern with Dancer. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

Dancer with Guitar. Pamplona, Spain. 1953. 

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