¿How is a bull like from up close?

Fotos: Javier Martínez de la Puente

In the first Running of the Bulls of Sanfermin 2017 which featured the Cebada Gago bull-ranch, some of the runners were able to run close in front of the horns. Some runners even got a very close-up view of the bulls. Perhaps, the one who got the closest view of all was this young man on the right side of the fencing at the City Hall stretch. He only had tenths of a second to analyze in detail just what the horn of a bull really looks like close-up, indeed, just what a fighting bull looks like close-up, and even what the Running of the Bulls event is really like close-up…. A close-up view indeed…

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Postales de San Fermín. Encierro.

A postcard from 1955 put the Sanfermin Running of the Bulls on the track of the largest media agency in New York

A family relation of his tells us that the runner with the moustache and jersey racing in front of the bulls is Paco Gómez, a former goalkeeper of both Osasuna F.C. and Real Murcia F.C.

We have found a vintage postcard on sale at ebay at a price of fifteen dollars and this led us to discover a story that went much deeper than it first seemed. At first sight, it just seemed a nice vintage postcard of a bullrunning event but behind it lies a story about the Pamplona Running of the Bulls and the fiesta report that Janet Harper sent to Jay Culver, one of the most important publishers in New York in those years. The front of the postcard shows a clear, good-quality image of the Sanfermin Bullrunning in black and white, showing a compact pack of bulls and various runners leading them towards the bullring. The background shows an image taken almost straight in front of the runners and the picture was most likely taken from the right side of the fencing just at the place where the present-day Paseo de Hemingway joins the corner of Juan de Labrit Street and it is clearly taken from a low angle. We can see the faces of the runners clearly and it also shows some photographers in their suits, some rather heavily dressed runners and just a few neckties worn by some of the people. If any of you recognize any faces, please let us know by writing to info@sanfermin.com. We can also make out in the background the corner where our Kukuxumusu store at 76 Estafeta Street now stands.

However the most interesting thing of all is to be found on the reverse side of the postcard. Here we discover that a certain Janet Harper sent a short note to Jay Culver in New York, all the way from London, dated the 31st of July. The recipients address is listed as 660, First Avenue, in Manhattan, New York. This led us to a possible clue about the recipient who, it turns out had a business there (Culver Service). Further research revealed that this Jay Culver was a founder of Culver Pictures. Ever since 1926 this firm was creating a huge archive of images of the United States at this address in New York.

Janet Harper is clearly excited as she relates her experiences to this important media publisher:

Postales de Sanfermin. Jay Culver.

According to an article written by Joe Mysak in the Columbia Daily Spectator  on the first of December, 1978, Culver Pictures was as equally big as Associated Press or United press in those years. The receiver of this postcard becomes relevant when we realize that this Janet Harper is letting one of the most important publishers in New York know all about the event that she experienced at the Sanfermin fiestas.


The date year of the postcard?

We have some doubts about the exact year that the snapshot shown on the postcard was taken. It could have been as early as 1933, 1936, or more likely, 1955. The Royal Mail stamp makes it clear that it was posted the same day that it was written, but the lettering does not make it clear whether it is 33, 36 o 55. However, some details might help clarify this point. 1933 is highly unlikely because the stamp of the Air Mail corresponds to UK Inland Airmail Delivery which only came into being in 1934. What is rather misleading is that in the image we sense that there is a second line of fencing on the left side of the image. Other images from 1936 show fencing with many more people on it and not so sparse as can be seen in this postcard image. We do know that the double fencing was first introduced in 1941 after the frightening experience of 1939 when a Sánchez Covaleda bull broke through the fencing in that year, causing great panic and mayhem around the area of the main square. Consequently, it would be best to conclude that the postcard is from 1955 unless some other detail comes to light or our eyes catch some new revealing information.
In 1955, Hemingway had made an appearance in Pamplona for Sanfermin (he returned first in 1953) and many foreigners revived an interest in our fiestas as a result. We know much less about this Janet Harper, but it is clear that she wished to transmit her excitement about the fiestas to this important New York publisher. Harper is a big publishing name in itself as in Harper & Brothers, for example. However, we do not have sufficient knowledge to try to follow up on that line of thought.

The present-day seller of the postcard is a concern called MMG Vintage, one of the specialists in selling in this kind of product on  EBay. They usually buy up stocks and then sell the items singularly. They do not seem to see any special relevance into this postcard and it seems to be considered as just one more photo of a running of the bulls.

This postcard is number 260 in the AJSA publication. We have checked out the book on postcards compiled by Javier Soria, Miguel Echague and Juan Ramón Corpas (Postales de Pamplona -Ed. Caja Pamplona-) and we failed to find this image, or any reference to the Publisher of this postcard. Nor have we found any reference to the postcard in the Works of Txartoa publications or indeed, any others. But perhaps some people out there could help us out because the figure of 260 postcards means that quite a lot were written and sent off in their time.

What we don’t know is if Mr. Culver recommended the fiestas to other parties or sent out any reporters to cover them or if he managed to acquire more images of Sanfermin for his archives…

Citroen Cactus y el encierro de Sanfermin

The Citroen Cactus is inspired by the Sanfermin Bullrunning

There is a good chance that you have already seen this TV commercial spot as it has made a reappearance just lately on TV. This video of the Citroen Cactus was first made more than a year ago by the Havas publicity company under the slogan “Efecto Made in Spain”. This TV commercial features a vehicle which is made in Spain and it shows how the different owners of this car model from around the world also acquire certain Spanish cultural values at the same time as they acquire the new car. The video advertisement has been made with great care and creativity and it reaches its maximum feature when the owner of this new car model finds his road blocked by a polar reindeer in the middle of a wooded trail and the car must come to a halt. The driver gets out of the car wearing a red necktie just like the Sanfermin runners and he entices the animal as if he was taking part in the running of the bulls in Pamplona and in this way he gets the reindeer to move off out of the way.

Citroen Cactus y el encierro de Sanfermin

Some cool style is shown by this “runner” in order to get the reindeer to move out of the way so that the car can continue its journey.

On Twitter, Javi Villaverde, wrote us to ask us to comment on this TV commercial spot as he feels it is quite well made and he is surprised that it has not raised more comment in the media outlets. Well, we think he is absolutely right; the fact isthe advert is very well done and its wink to the Sanfermin Running of the bulls is perhaps its very best moment of all. From the comments that we have seen on the video that Citroen produced at the time of the first showings of this commercial, it seems a lot of viewers liked the advert and they particularly praised the “Sanfermin” scene. It has to be said that there were also some negative comments stating that it showed a stereotyped image of Spanish culture with clichédimages like the siesta, the paella and Sanfermin. The creative team obviously intentionally played with these clichéd images of Spain, but within a humorous context, which is also an important characteristic of life in Spain.

Havas aimed to decontextualize typical Spanish customs which are of course, not so typical in Germany (Siesta), Singapore (Paella) or Finland (Bullrunning) and which would provoke surprise and admiration. The agency prepared a good launching campaign and a follow-up which worked very well and which can be followed on Twitter or Facebook at the has tag #efectomadeinspain.

300.000 Citroen vehicles for 60 countries

At present, several models of the Citroen vehicle range are currently manufactured in Madrid or in Vigo –namely the Citroën C4 Cactus, C4 Picasso, Grand C4 Picasso, Berlingo, its Electric Berlingo and the C-Elysée. In 2015, 300.000 vehicles from this trademark were manufactured and they were sold in some 60 countries all over the world.


A wallet dropped in front of the bulls

This year’s sixth Running of the Bulls had few incidents of note, and few reasons for any runners to be sent off for hospital treatment. In fact, only a mere five runners needed some treatment for contusions and bruising.  But funny enough, at least one runner may end up going to the lost property office or to the local police station, after today’s running.

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Camiseta de Kukuxumusu CURIOSO, hoy te la enviamos gra

T-shirt homage to “Curioso”, the rebel bull that rebelled against its destiny

There is not long to go now before the start of Sanfermin and we have decided to warm up for the great event with this new T-shirt which serves as a taste of what is to come within a short month or so. At the same time, we wish to pay homage to the bull “Curioso”, the rebel bull that rebelled against its destiny and refused to take part in the Running of the Bulls.


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Álvaro Barrientos. Sanfermin 2015.

Alvaro Barrientos gets a gold medal at the China Press Photo for a snapshot of the young heifers in San Fermin

This young heifer which leaped into the bullring on the morning of the 8th of July would never have imagined that it would feature as one of the most awarded photos of 2015. And now Álvaro Barrientos has been awarded the gold medal at the XII China International Press Photo Contest (CHIPP) for this shot of the young heifer leaping out of the pen and into the arena.

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An illustration of the Running of the Bulls to publicize a Sony camera in Indonesia

An illustration of the Running of the Bulls to publicize a Sony camera in Indonesia

Sony recreated an image of the Sanfermin Running of the Bulls from the summer fiestas of 2012 to publicize its new camera endowed with a projector, in Indonesia. Probably the Sony DCR-PJ5 video camera does not mean much to you, but the possibility of recording film and being able to project it at the very same time was a real advertising challenge for the Y&R creative publicity agency from Jakarta.

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© Rodrigo Sebastián Cabrera. 14/7/2015. Miura.

Could we see a Running of the Bulls made in under two minutes in 2016?

Photo: ©Rodrigo Sebastián Cabrera

Nobody would have thought that within a few years we could be asking a question like this: Might there be a Sanfermin 2016 Running of the Bulls of under two minutes duration? This premise is a logical one because on the 14th of July, 2015, the Miura bulls clocked a record-breaking run of just two minutes five seconds. This is a first-ever record for the Running of the Bulls because the whole pack of six bulls completed the whole distance of 875 meters that constitute the length of the course, running at an average speed of 25, 2 Km per hour. You can watch the best photos of these day HERE. And the answer that we feel we can give from Sanfermin.com is an affirmative yes that it is possible for a Sanfermin bullrunning to be completed in less than two minutes. And indeed, we may not need to wait much longer than 2016.

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