french bullfighting, arles, saturday 21/6/1986
I found a group of FP4 negatives I’d taken in Arles, France back in ‘86, a couple of years before I had my cameras stolen in Barcelona. The human idiots portrayed carry a multi-bladed razor and the goal is to cut a ribbon tied between the (extremely sharp) horns of a bull. It is, as one would imagine, quite the spectator sport, and thankfully a lot less bloody than the Spanish variety. Still, I’d imagine that from time to time a few of these guys don’t end up all that well (not to mention the bulls!).
This series is composed of crops from my original negatives. I was using a 70-210mm lens and just shooting from our seats in the stands, so I didn’t get quite as close as it seems here, yet I like the crops with their attendant grain and presence. Even though I recall we’d paid extra for seats à l'ombre I remember it being quite hot, which seemed appropriate when I was scanning these yesterday.
Forgetting the stupidity of the occasion for a moment, it must be said that it has resulted in the depiction of some quite dance-like and poetic movement. This is for me one of the great joys of photography - the ability to preserve for future delectation the arrested grace of movement and gesture.
Even, as here, in the face of certain death or dismemberment.