The Selfie that might have cost a life in the Running of the Bulls

Eneko Morán has been taking photos of the Running of the Bulls for the past three years. This year, with the customary tension and nervousness of the first Bullrun, was added the inconvenience of having to protect his equipment from a downpour of rain, just an hour before the running of the bulls began. In spite of everything he got himself into position on the fencing and he began to shoot his camera as soon as the bullrun got underway.  And he has managed to get a pretty awesome series of photos. When he began to check his photos after the event finished, he noticed that he had captured what he thought was a knockdown made by one of the El Puerto bulls. However, when he got back to the office of Sanfermin.com, we were able to confirm that the runner who was caught by the bull had been looking at his cell phone with both hands, as if he were taking a Selfie on the stretch of the course. A reckless action that could easily have cost him his life.  .

As can be seen in the first of the images, the runner is totally unaware of the approaching bull and is focused on his cell phone. The succeeding image shows the bull catching the unsuspecting runner. (Image from Eneko Morán)

The whole sequence of photos shows exactly what happened. And it should be remembered that a Town Hall statute specifically states that all cell phones and cameras are banned from use inside the whole length of the course of the Running of the Bulls.

Los encierros con el suelo mojado

 

Esta mañana una tormenta ha descargado sobre el recorrido del encierro a las siete de la mañana. Los encierros en mojado son más seguros que la media sobre suelo seco. Nos apuntan varios corredores que ellos mismos toman más precauciones y que algunos incluso abandonan el recorrido del encierro, mientras que los toros no suelen variar en tiempo su carrera con lluvia o sin ella. Los últimos cinco encierros con el suelo mojado han dejado una media de duración de 2 minutos y 45 segundos y en total registraron cuatro cornadas. Se percibe claramente un número bajo de heridos, relacionado directamente con la menor presencia de corredores y con la asunción de precauciones por quienes participan en el encierro.

24 encierros se asjustan a tus criterios de búsqueda
FechaGanaderíaDuraciónHeridos astaTraumatismosAtendidosPiso
10/07/1980Miura3.463No disponibleMojado
11/07/1980Dolores Aguirre4.58No disponibleMojado
10/07/1981Conde de la Corte4.2414No disponibleMojado
12/07/1982Ortega Sánchez3.5718No disponibleMojado
12/07/1986Marqués de Domecq7.5824No disponibleMojado
09/07/1991Cebada Gago5.06211Mojado
10/07/1992Conde de la Corte3.05222Mojado
08/07/1996Guardiola Fantoni5.03121Mojado
09/07/1997Maria Luisa Domínguez6.161214Mojado
12/07/1999Jandilla2.55319Mojado
11/07/2000Jandilla3.49312Mojado
12/07/2000Núñez del Cuvillo3.442829Mojado
09/07/2001Cebada Gago3.022121Mojado
11/07/2001Santiago Domecq Bohórquez3.581419Mojado
11/07/2002Jandilla2.522640Mojado
14/07/2002Miura2.50527Mojado
07/07/2004Torrestrella2.40835Mojado
10/07/2004Dolores Aguirre2.562428Mojado
11/07/2004Miura2.231225Mojado
07/07/2012Dolores Aguirre2.5315No disponibleMojado
09/07/2014Victoriano del Río3.2323No disponibleMojado
12/07/2014Fuente Ymbro2.503No disponibleMojado
07/07/2016Fuente Ymbro2.285No disponibleMojado
13/07/2016Núñez del Cuvillo2.3216No disponibleMojado

Sanfermin Open Ceremony LIVE

Imagen de Jesús Diges

Este el ambiente que hemos vivido entre la gente.

 

12.01 La gente de Motxila 21 enciende la fiesta

11.46 se llena la plaza

11.39 Chupinazo ínter generacional

11.15 Ya no se cabe

10.55 running of the balls

10.25 comienzan las bendiciones de vino

10.05 La gente de TV3 no se pierde una juerga.  Una festa dins i fora.

09.50 Policía Municipal interviene en un encontronazo entre cuadrillas

09.20 policía municipal desaloja la plaza para controlar que quienes acceden no lo hacen con vidrio u objetos peligrosos

09.01 falta muy menosssss

08:40 Ya hay gente cogiendo sitio. Igual no llegáis

Imagen de Iñaki Vergara con los toros en abanico en la calle Estafeta.

Eminence

by Matt Dowsett. Photo Iñaki Vergara.

(Written with thanks and appreciation to AFH for his valuable contribution)

“A plague on eminence! I hardly dare cross the street any more without a convoy, and I am stared at wherever I go…”

Igor Stravinsky

It is a very human trait to want to be respected, to be highly knowledgeable and to elevate oneself, not only within a social circle, but far beyond. Some would argue that it is innate; linked to our evolution and the limbic system – that part of the brain that primarily integrates emotions, motivations and behaviours. Darwin maybe would have argued that it is actually in our genes as it ensures that the elevated ones are sure to get the girl, to get fed.

Thackeray derided he who would not strive for eminence as “a poor-spirited coward.” Washington Allston would seem to agree in saying: “I am inclined to think from my own experience that the difficulty to eminence lies not in the road, but in the timidity of the traveler.”

In this modern world the desire to attain these heights has a more immediate and less forgiving arena in the online space. The push for “likes” and the need for the most “followers” on a profile drives an online behaviour that appears to be a search for fame and influence. It is even possible to measure how much online influence a person has through their “Klout” score. And it is not simply about posting dreary nonsense in order to get clicks. Andrew Gill has pointed out that: “as social media is becoming more prevalent, and people and companies are using it to make purchasing and hiring decisions, the role of social eminence is becoming critical.”

Small wonder that everybody wants to rise; this is not just influence. In ‘Leviathan’ Hobbes wrote that: “Man strives for power after power and it ceases only in death.” What is power? Eminence! Or as Hobbes more correctly put it: “‘Natural power’ is the eminence of the faculties of body or mind, as extraordinary strength, form, prudence, arts, eloquence, liberality, nobility.”

Little wonder that we strive for eminence when, deep down, we believe it will give us power.

But remember that true eminence is not just about being well known. It is possible to become well known overnight; that is fame. It is also not just about having great knowledge. It is possible to attain great knowledge through the application of ones own appetite; that is being learned. True eminence is about being respected for ones knowledge and experience, being well known for it and, as a result, having influence.

Seeking to advance oneself is always a dangerous game. The temptation to cut corners, cheat a little or even to walk over the bodies of rivals to advance is never far away. Beware that a person is never too high to fall, but more than that, reputation is a valuable treasure that is easily lost. As Baltasar Gracian said: “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” Elevate, go and climb higher, but remember “The high road is always respected. Honesty and integrity are always rewarded.” (Scott Hamilton).

Additionally, Nicholas Chamfort pointed out that: “Eminence without merit earns deference without esteem.” Anyone seeking this level should expect to have a long wait and be prepared to put in the effort. But they also need to be careful. “Knowledge can be heady stuff, but easily leads to an excess of zeal – to illusions of grandeur and a desire to impress others and achieve eminence… Our search for knowledge should be ceaseless, which means that it is open-ended, never resting on laurels, degrees or past achievements.” So wrote Hugh Nibley, perhaps warning against hubris and its results.

In the world of fiesta and the encierro, there are plenty that seek an exalted position, despite there being few formal roles. The collective has no appointed leaders or positions of authority and yet many are drawn into the contest to become known, to become respected and to be seen as a figurehead for the masses in fiesta. Newcomers will attempt do demonstrate just how much they know about the history of fiesta. Perhaps they will even write a book, a blog or an article. Others will try to make their name in the encierro and gain respect through that route. Some will simply opt for longevity; returning to fiesta year after year until they naturally assume a position of respect.

Yet none of this is guaranteed to result in eminence. The person who returns time and again to Pamplona may be respected but could simply have lived the same fiesta thirty times over and never learned anything outside of the few bars and streets that they frequent. In the encierro the camera lies and a runner can make it look as though they have had an amazing run, eventually the truth will out. Not only that but respect in the encierro comes from proving oneself not just day after day, but year after year, as Nibley inferred.

Even after all of this, status in the encierro can lead to a false sense of importance. To be regarded as “divino” or divine carries a number of connotations; being so elevated as to be considered saintly, having reached a pinnacle of performance that leads to the runner being beyond reproach, but also a sarcastic or mocking term for a runner who believes themselves to be worthy of this status. To be divino is not necessarily something to aspire to. The divino who challenges the gods of the encierro can soon encounter nemesis in “valiente” form.

There is no shortage of fiesta attendees that are prepared to seek to be someone, to be known. AFH said: “I think the denial of the urge to eminence false, a pose, but its overindulgence ugly.” This implies a fine balance between feeding the desire for influence and not becoming a caricature. The question also has to be asked; “What good is power in fiesta? What does it serve and where does it lead?”

The search for eminence is at odds with the loose and chaotic nature of fiesta. In the maelstrom of Los Sanfermines, wielding power is contrary to the spontaneous, raw alegría. It inhibits it, it seeks to work against it in setting rules in an arena where the suspension of rules has long been celebrated as a cornerstone of fiesta.

And what are these cornerstones?

It could be argued that the key elements are faith, brotherhood, music, food and liberality. These do not leave much room for power to be assumed and employed, except perhaps in the world of faith. Look at the street during fiesta and you will see the evidence of the removal of controls: no or very few police or officials, the people spilling out onto the road, a huge and unmanageable mass allowed to be self-regulating, a 24-hour life, spontaneous bursts of music and dancing, a largesse that the city bathes in.

This is no place for power except that which is confined to pockets of friends or collections of the like-minded. It is a deluded kind of power as there is no real effect. The scale of San Fermín repels power leaving those who desire it to scratch out their exposure where they can: on snatched television interviews, holding court in a bar or restaurant, online activity and the written word that rapidly becomes litter, floating around the dirty streets.

Power and influence are fleeting. Everything passes and fades with time, and even the greatest leaders are only remembered in dusty history books. Shelley and his contemporary Horace Smith correctly observed that great empires fall into dust. In his poem, Ozymandias (written at the same time as the work of the same name by his friend, Shelley), Smith mused: “…what powerful but unrecorded race, once dwelt in that annihilated place.”

Some will tell you that the best parties in San Fermín are the exclusive ones, invitation only, in character-laden apartments of the old town and frequented by aficionados and their groupies every year on a certain day of fiesta. Actually the true joy of fiesta comes from diving into the swirling whirlpool of humanity and letting the flow take you with it. The white and red of Los Sanfermines may seem to some like an inhibiting uniform or a banal lack of individualism, but it is actually to be envied. The anonymous spirit can ignore all expectations and simply surrender to the flow. Power and influence come with shackles, while ignorance is bliss. How many long-term fiesta luminaries yearn to return to the fiestas of their youth? Not only to be young again, but to be free again – free of the responsibilities, burdens and expectations that come with age and influence. The faceless power of the collective alegría is stronger than the individual who has worked for 30 years to be respected on the street.

Up on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial at 11:55 on 6th July, a line of the powerful and influential stand in their pristine white clothes. In their hands a petite glass of cava. On the face of it they are the great and good of the city, the region, but in reality they carry only grey eminence. The masses do not care about them; in fact they regularly jeer at them, chant rude songs and even throw things at them. Up on the balcony it is all polite and careful conversation as they observe the seething mass below on the plaza. The crowd swirls and surges, the joy is about to explode into rapture while the eminent and influential look politely on.

“Isn’t it a marvellous view from up here,” observes one politician.

“Yes,” replies another, wistfully, “but I would rather be down there.”

Running of the Bulls Balconies. Sanfermin, Pamplona 2017

Travel Tips

Follow our advice to come to Sanfermin if you want to get the most out of the fiestas. You can find a hotel, a rented room or even come as a backpacker, but what you really need to know is how the party scene and the fiestas really thrill and buzz.

Dress in white color, it’s the Fiesta code
Make your reservation early in advance
Eat enough to stand alive!
Sleep and relax from time to time
Keep safe your luggage
In case you loose something, go to the Lost Items Office
Have a shower, or more, even if you avoid hotels
Show respect! There are rules even in Sanfermin

Dress in white color, it’s the Fiesta code

One of the characteristics of the fiesta is that everyone dresses up as they please…, but in white gear. This is not an inconvenience but rather one of the inside ways of becoming more intimate with the fiesta spirit and allowing you to party better by mixing in better with the rest of the crowd. So, the first piece of advice is to dress in white trousers or shorts or whatever, – in white – and also with a white shirt, tee shirt, or whatever. A minimum item and pretty much a must is the characteristic red necktie. All the clothes stores are selling in Kukuxumusu before and during the fiestas and they are also widely available at street markets.

In addition, it pays to wear some good quality footwear. Flip-flops and sandals are not very suitable as it is easy to step on broken glass or simply have people step on you as there are big crowds just about everywhere.

Make your reservation early in advance

Just as we advise you to let things unfold at their own time to enjoy the fiestas; we equally advise the opposite if you are planning a trip to Pamplona. You should make sure you have travel tickets to get to Pamplona well beforehand. It is also well worthwhile ensuring you have a place to sleep before you come.

Accommodation basically comes down to hotels, renting apartments or going to camping sites. We would heartily recommend going for regulated accommodation as service and quality are guaranteed. However, it may be necessary to fall back on private rented accommodation because demand is so high. You can make hotel bookings at Findor.com, with a 24 hour attention service and in your own language. You can also find some tourist package offers at Sanfermin Booking where you can book a balcony from which to watch the Running of the Bulls. You could also check out our own noticeboard for private apartment renting.

Eat enough to stand alive!

The best way of keeping in form during all the partying is to make sure to eat plenty. The best thing would be to follow the locals in their habits of eating a breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a meal, an evening snack and a late dinner. There is a very wide range of offers in food during Sanfermin. From Monday thru Friday supermarkets are open but on Sundays and on the 7th of July, they are closed to the public as this is a holiday in Pamplona. However, even on those two days some small food stores would be open around the old part of the city.

While there is a wide range of restaurants, there are also some street traders at places such as -Antoniutti and Barracas- and ordinary bars that would provide some basic food and snacks or pinchos. In Sanfermin, you can expect to pay a bit more than during the rest of the year so it is a good idea to ask the price before ordering.

las-peas-no-van-al-ruedo-pero-se-lo-montan-tan-bien-como-siemprec-sergio-san-martin_4785594315_o

© Javier Martínez de la Puente

Sleep and relax from time to time

The city doubles its number of inhabitants during Sanfermin and the hotel vacancies are all filled, especially at weekends. It is permitted to sleep out in the parks and such public places but it can get cold at night (14-22 Cº) and sometimes it could rain. There are several options for sleeping in Sanfermin. From the most expensive to the cheapest in the following order: hotels, hostels, boarding-houses, camp sites, renting an apartment, renting a room and maybe just not sleeping or sleeping on the ground in some public park or similar. The best thing would be to make an early booking.

It is also quite customary to rent out apartments or rooms in Sanfermin. At our Notice-BoardSanfermin.com you can usually find people who are offering and searching for places. Sanfermin Booking (Powered by sanfermin by locals & Sanfermin.com) offers various packets that could be of interest as they are varied and open to different kinds of travelers. You can book the balconies to the running of the bulls too.

If you can book hotel rooms or flights to Pamplona you can visit travel.sanfermin.com (Powered by Findor & Orbitz). If ever an issue arises you can call or email Findor team at any time (Live Chat & Voice). They’re always available and ready to help.

san-fermin-2015-11_18993412533_o

© Javier Martínez de la Puente

Keep safe your luggage

There is a good dependable left luggage office set up especially for the fiestas. It guarantees security and ease of mind about your things. Being able to drop off your backpack in a safe place allows you enjoy the fiestas with an easy mind as it is very hard to keep an eye on your things with such large crowds of people about

There are two Left Luggage Offices during Sanfermin where all sorts of equipment and baggage may be left. The biggest and cheapest is the one that Pamplona City Hall organizes each year at the public school of San Francisco, in the city center. It is always open from the 4th of July until the 16th of July. Spanish, English, Basque language and French and German are all spoken by some or other of the attendants. There are also changing rooms available there if you want to make a quick change of clothing. There is also a tourist information office.

Price per item of baggage or equipment for each 24 hours is about 4,5 euro. If you do take it out to have a change of clothes or whatever, then you are charged again when you put it back for safekeeping. When you leave in your pack they make a photocopy of your passport and they give you a receipt and a tag and they will charge you for the first day. To take out the pack you will need to show your passport and your tag and they check off your data with the photocopy that goes with the pack. This is the safest and best system.

There are also two rows of automatic storage lockers at the Pamplona Coach Station which work with coin slots and if you arrive by coach this might be a handier option.

In case you loose something, go to the Lost Items Office

There is a lost property service available at the local police station where everything picked up in the city is handed in and the public can come to check the articles. When someone gets so caught up in all the partying, it is sometimes difficult to keep a close eye on one’s things. If something gets lost, hopefully some honest citizen who finds it will hand it over to the municipal police or to one of the collaborators in civil protection – those people wearing an orange-colored jacket – who will see that it finds it way to the Lost Property Office.

This office obviously works intensely over the eight days of fiestas, and afterwards it remains open some days more to facilitate the recovery of objects for the public. It is also possible to fill in a form on the Pamplona City Hall web site, giving a description of the lost property and a search will be made at the Lost Property Office for the object. Should it be found, contact will then be made with the owners. You can also telephone directly to the Lost Property Office at +34 948 420 612. You can fill an online form to register your lost property, but the web are only in spanish language (You can try)

backpackerlost.g

Oficina de objetos perdidos de Sanfermin. ©Sanfermin.com

Have a shower, or more, even if you avoid hotels

Pamplona during Sanfermin fiestas has some special premises, both public and private, where you can shower. After being out on the town during Sanfermin the moment comes when it is necessary to have a wash. There is a large public facility – the Casa de Baños y lavandería Pública available in the old part of town which where showers are available. This premises is located in the street – calle Hilarion Eslava 9, – very closet o the left luggage premises at San Francisco square. The best thing about using this public center is that towels and soap are also available so that it is not necessary to carry anything with you.

Many visitors avail of the public swimming pools to have a relaxing swim and do some sunbathing in the quieter hours of the day before the partying takes off again. The swimming pools in the Piscinas de Aranzadi, are public and reasonably close to the whole part of town. There you will find open air and indoor pools as well as a gym, dressing rooms, some green areas for sunbathing and even a restaurant.

piscinas de verano de aranzadi

Piscinas de Aranzadi.

Show respect! There are rules even in Sanfermin

Pamplona in San Fermin has a name for being anarchic -a place where- during the days of the Fiesta – anything goes. And that first impression, when you see the whole town in celebration, seems to conform this fact. However, it’s not quite true. Any misdemeanours are punished, just as in any other place, with a night in the caboose, or a fine or whatever. Proof that things are never too unruly is that you will see many young children with their families strolling among all the hustle and bustle. They can be seen, for example, at the exit of the “Peñas” to see how people “enjoy” themselves. Or at the “Dianas” to see the survivors from the all-night sessions.

Stepping over the line might sometimes depend on where and when you misbehave. It’s a question of using your instinct and being generally prudent at all times. Adapting and accepting the local norms and learning from what you see around you.

Funes. Navarra.

Deception, by Mat Dowsett

“The art of pleasing is the art of deception”, Luc de Clapiers

I have in my possession a beautiful photograph, taken of me by my wife on a basic digital SLR, running an encierro in Navarra a few years ago. To me the image is so good that it would be very difficult to improve upon it. In the shot I am running down the street, head over my shoulder as the horns of the bulls get closer behind me giving a strong air of danger but also beauty.

The buildings of the town and the wooden barriers all help to frame the moment. There is nobody in the shot – a runner and the animals, an encierro. What makes it more dramatic is the fact that it is shot in black and white, making it atmospheric and moody. If I ran a million encierros I could barely hope for a better picture and even the great Jimmy Hollander has remarked at the quality of that photo.

In fact this is only a part of the story. The picture is not a lie, but is not wholly honest either, and while I love it I am also loathe to make too much of it knowing that it doesn’t convey the entirety of that moment in Funes, Navarra, almost a decade ago.

“Photography has always been capable of manipulation” wrote Joel Stenfield, and he was absolutely correct. There is no Photoshop trickery afoot here. There is no airbrushing out or pasting in. There is no manipulation of the colour, contrast or brightness. The original has been unaltered except for the fact that it has been cropped. This makes all the difference.

In the original, uncropped version, you can see that there are other runners to my left and right making it clear that I was not alone, not the only one in danger. The uncropped version also makes it clear that we were reaching the end of the run and the safety of the barriers was just a few dozen metres away. What is less evident is the actual distance that the bulls were behind us. The camera acts to foreshorten these distances meaning that they were not quite as close as the touching distance that the image suggests. That is not to say that they were not close, but we certainly had a little breathing space. But when it comes down to it, the uncropped version is not nearly as good as the modified one.

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts”, Garry Winogrand.

So the beautiful image, cropped from the original is a deception. There is no crime here, but certainly a deception.

There is nothing unusual in this. Since the dawn of photography and even earlier to the origins of portrait art, we humans have sought to frame our experiences and our image in the most flattering way possible. We always want the artist or photographer to “get our good side”. Nobody likes an unflattering picture and is very unlikely to give it any publicity. Take a stroll through social media and this becomes evident – image is everything. The pressure on people to crop their lives on social media in order to portray a perfect life is overwhelming.

This is no different in Pamplona where the encierro, photographed to within an inch of its life, becomes the ultimate stage for ego, and also deception. In the mid to late afternoon after the drama of the run has drifted away into the heat, the photo shops are a hive of activity. In amongst the tourists and curious observers looking at the pictures with wide-eyed wonder, there are also a number of runners desperately seeking that perfect or near-perfect picture proving their worth as a bull runner, proving their worth within this family of aficionados who carry the burden of expectation like a modern day Atlas. To run the encierro as anything other than a novice first-timer is to bear a portion of this expectation. It becomes a need to prove, a need to display evidence, a need to justify and a need to satisfy self-worth. To go to Pamplona, run all week and enjoy it is magnificent, but to come away without evidence of the triumphs is a disaster for many, despite the views of philosophers from Marcus Aurelius to Kipling.

The perfect image. Photographer: Javier Martínez de la Puente
The perfect image. Photographer: Javier Martínez de la Puente

Small wonder that deception creeps in; it has a natural home – a very understandable host to cling to.

Howard Jacobson wrote; “…anyone who cannot bear to look at the reflection of his conscience in the mirror of a crime, has only to smash the mirror to feel innocent.”

Borrowing from this quote we could also say that anybody who cannot bear to accept a bad run has only to change the story to feel better. In this way the second element of deception is employed – manipulating the mental picture rather than the physical one.

“The truth is what I say it is,” said Jacob Kerns and thus, after the encierro, we make our subtle changes; cropping the actual run here and there to cut out the undesirable parts, adding a bit of extra colour to make it more attractive, changing the lens from a fish-eye to a narrow focus. In this way we end up with a more comfortable version and picture that we are happier to share than discard. All the time we forget that there is no crime in having a bad run. We don’t need to reinvent everything. Not every experience has to be portrayed in a positive light.

But we are human.

So how often have we heard runners claim that a bull’s horn missed them by centimetres when, in reality, it was feet? How often have we heard runners claim that they were right in front of the bulls when they were further ahead or off to the side? Small wonder that Bar Txoko after the encierro is sometimes known as “Liar’s Corner”.

Ray Mouton, writing in his book “Pamplona”, expressed it as follows:

“It seems exaggerations are the rule, not the exception, among Americans in Pamplona. Many exaggerate the number of times they have been to Pamplona, the number of times they have run with the bulls, as well as bumps, bruises, knicks, scratches, and minor run-ins with a horn. A kind of inexplicable compulsion overcomes some Americans in Pamplona who seize upon fiesta as an opportunity for self-promotion, and writers often act as their shills, making them out to be what they a Hemingwayesque figure is. The tradition may have begun with Hemingway himself who exaggerated in the news dispatches he filed from Pamplona and in letters to friends like Ezra Pound.”

“The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him”, Xun Kuang.

Therefore it is not unusual to hear an encierro story that has been dramatically embellished. It is far from unusual to see that the words of a mozo do not match the images on television, online or in the newspapers. The deception can be incredibly subtle, innocent, or it can be a grotesque lie.

So what?

What is the issue here and does it matter? In short it is wrong, and it is cheap to make claims that are not true. In such a noble event as the encierro of Pamplona, runners should maintain their integrity. This is not only for themselves but for the reputation of the encierro as a whole and the community around it. When you lie about your achievements you may get temporary gratification, but no more than this – the rest will be devalued. Which is better, a good runner who exaggerates or an average runner who is honest about their limitations? Social media seems to favour the former, sadly.

“A journalist is supposed to present an unbiased portrait of an event, a view devoid of intimate emotions. This is impossible, of course. The framing of an image, by its very composition, represents a choice. The photographer chooses what to show and what to exclude”, Alexandra Kerry.

Should we not also be unbiased about our own claims?

Before we employ too much righteous indignation, ask who has not done this? Anyone? Ever? Who is not guilty of this even if in some small way? And what is so terrible about the use of slightly more descriptive language when talking about something that is visceral, intense and profoundly personal? Before we condemn let us first remember that it is human nature to exaggerate. Rufus Wainwright talked about making the mundane fabulous and Marina Tsvetaeva wrote:

“A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths.”

What then is the solution? Do we try to change this or do we accept that humans will always employ deception and there is nothing we can do about it? Ultimately it is down to our own conscience as, when we deceive in the encierro, we are not making any financial gains and we are open to contradiction thanks to media coverage and many other witnesses. When it comes down to it we are only deceiving ourselves.

Meanwhile my own photograph remains in an album, rather than proudly on display.

Sanfermines 2017, the most vindicated fiestas

Photos: Javier Martínez de la Puente

Hard though it is to accept, the fact is that Sanfermin 2017 is all over. After the final Pobre de Mí event took place at midnight, in City Hall square, the teardrops – yes, even the most hardened of us let slip a tear or two, let’s admit it – the time has come to put away the red sash and necktie and let our bodies recognize and accept the tiredness and fatigue that inevitably comes once the fiestas have come to a close.

Continue reading…

More people and bigger partying than ever at the Encierro of the 15th

Fotos: Mónica Sarasa

More people. Bigger Partying. Even greater fun. And no wish for the fiestas to finish. As always, in the early morning of the 15th – this event, which started out as the “Running of the City Bus”- many years ago and which seems to attract more and more people each year, took place once again this year. The general comment going round was that this event has more runners than the correct Running of the Bulls on the 14th and final day of the proper event.

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Two runners share the same destiny

Photo: Iñigo Alzugaray

Even the best runners can find themselves in a tight spot. Especially, when the bulls fly along the course, as was the case today with the Miura bulls in this eighth and last Running of the Bulls of Sanfermin 2017. These two guys are habitual runners with lots of experience on this stretch of Telefonica and on the final run down into the bullring. They shared the run, the fall and, in the case of one of them, a visit “just in case” to the surgery located inside the bullring, a precautionary removal to hospital for a more intensive check-up

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A bulldozing charge on the Telefonica stretch

Photos: Iñaki Vergara

The eighth and last Running of the Bulls of Sanfermin 2017 was unfolding in a predictable form, with the bulls running at a frenetic pace. The Miura bulls had knocked over several runners on the Mercaderes and Estafeta stretches, although without attempting to gore any of the runners. But when the bulls entered the Telefonica stretch, they raced along the fencing on the right side almost in file at a ferocious pace.

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