The Miura bull that wished to toss a photographer

Javier Ibáñez Iborra is particularly fond of taking photos of the Running of the Bulls at the Telefónica-Callejon stretch. He can be found most mornings of the Sanfermin fiestas around that spot since he first came here about fifteen years ago. It is one of the places along the course that tends to produce curious situations, with loose bulls, or maybe one that turns back and goes in the opposite direction …

Whenever anything unusual like that happens, he does not hesitate to throw himself on the ground, with his heart racing at 100 per hour, for sure. And he attempts to take his photos from this position, just like this one that he has picked out from the hundreds of snapshots that he has captured over the years.

“Photos taken from above the fencing, and particularly angled ones, tend to make the bull appear smaller and diminish its powerful presence in relation to the surrounding runners”, explains this versatile photographer from the town of Tafalla, and a schoolmaster by profession. And that is why he likes to take photos at the eye-level of the bull. In this way, his lens captures the real figure of the bull, its massive muscles and its magnificent mute eloquence.

He recalls one of those special moments he experienced while trying to catch that special photo in the Running of the Bulls:

“That morning, I was in my usual spot, in wait at the Telefónica-Callejón stretch. Suddenly a large bull by the name of Ermitaño arrived – one from the Miura bull-ranch.  The bull came to a sudden halt and even stepped back a few paces. At that moment, I started to do my usual thing and got and down and crouched behind the fencing, all tensed up and concentrated”.

“After a few long seconds, Ermitaño turned again as if to head on in the correct direction towards the entrance to the bull ring. But it had hardly gone two meters when it moved its head and stared intently right at me (perhaps the click of the camera caught its attention). Anyway, it turned again and headed straight for me with a sudden mighty charge.

It seems pretty incredible to tell it now but, as I was watching its reaction through the view finder of the camera, I was mentally telling myself to take care and get out of the way of the animal, because also the lens can mislead about the real distance that an object is from the viewer.

Obviously, between the nerves of the moment and the jump back that I took, several of the photos came out jumpy and with the frame out of place… but what the photos did capture perfectly was that moment when a big bull of some 500 kilos is staring straight at you and it begins its charge at you with the clear aim of giving you a goring with its horns”.

The photo was taken on Sunday, 12th of July, 2009.