Toni Catany

June ended and I’d like to close this month with this very special post.

My photographic proyect in El Objetivo Mágico (The Magic Lens), where we have to replicate a different master of photography every month, has had Tony Catany as a protagonist. And he is my favourite artist. I chose him for this work, and the time came when I had to start digging deeply in his work art in order to try to reproduce it.

So the month for this hard job had finally arrived. Tony Catany changed the way I felt the dead nature art together with the way I used to take pictures. I don’t think there is any other master that left such a mark on me…

He was a Mallorquin (from Mallorca Island in Spain) who lived in Barcelona from 1960. As a good self-taught, he only did a short correspondence course when he was very young. He published his first photo reports in 1668 and from 1978 onwards he started being recognized all over the world. His knowledge of how to apply lights and shadows is excellent and the elegance he treats colour with is just exquisite.


His work is plenty of sensibility, armony and also melancoly. I found out about him a few months ago in a course I was doing at Encandilarte, and I fell in love with his art straight away. I liked it so much that I started looking up in the Internet all his photographies, trying to purchase one of them. I ended up with three of them over my hands thanks to Blanca de Berlin, an art gallery director in Madrid, who happened to be selling some of the Catany’s photos.

The core of his work is the still life, naked human bodies and gorgeous landscapes.

Toni Catany showed his work for the first time in 1972. Then over 200 more came after. In 2001 he won the National Photography Award by the Ministry of Culture and the National Award of the Fine Art (Catalunya).  He was considered within the 100 best photographers in the world by Life Magazine.

Tony tested with the oldest developing techniques all over his career. Finally he jumped into the digital photography “because that let him treat the color in the way he was looking for” (according to his own words). He used a half professional camera for many years, exactly the Sony 828.

His art is captivating, moving and will please you for sure, due to his sensibility and elegance.

I right now am declaring myself an inconditional fan of his whole work and his way of seing beauty. I’ll never forget one of his quotes, that I from now onwards will do mine:

“To me photography is a way of showing my feelings, my mood and my emotions. I don’t photograph for others, but for myself, just for the pleasure of taking photos. I fon top of that, people like my work, the satisfaction is then amplified”.

Toni Catany

 I’ve enjoyed this proyect very much. And this is the result of several sessions of Dead Nature trying to emulate the work of a great visionary.

I hope you enjoy that much with my work as well!









The Garden of the Angel

Thinking of coming to Madrid soon? Then, you should come over and see the space I’m recommending today. You’ll know why in a few seconds.

I’m talking about a florist that offers much more than flowers. An elegant and quite corner within the old Madrid, in the downtown with a history behind that deserves to be told by the owners themselves.

I discovered this lovely place when I was walking around the Barrio de las Letras, during a nice Sunday morning. I’d never seen it before, or at least, I had never paid attention.

Its history has a very long tail… It’s a three centuries history actually! That long ago this little spot was the cemetery of the San Sebastian Church. The graveyard kept existing the same way until the last years of the 19th century. It was 1889 when the Martin family (owner of the site) decided to rent it to the church to make a garden center. From then onwards its walls made on glass could tell us a lot about loads of adventures and misterious stories.

It was mentioned by Benito Pérez Galdós (Spanish writer from the 20s) in his novel “Misericordia” and the place still keeps the intimacy of the old cemetery along with the essence of its great past. The business never closed its doors, not once. It was open even during the Civil War in Spain.

Nowadays is a dream place, a lovely garden where besides purchase beautiful flowersm you can enjoy arquitectura and the peace that comes out its walls. Imagine being surrounded by calm, serenity, green color and the most amazing style, in the heart of one of the most fabulous neighborhoods in town.



El jardín del Angel (The Garden of The Angel)

C/ Huertas 2

Madrid 28012

With “I” for “Inca”

Inca: Ancient’s inca jewelry, from the pre-Columbian era.

Indian tribes used to make this sort of jewelry with different techniques, depending of the region. The most common material they used was gold or tumbaga (name given by Spaniards to a non specific alloy of gold and copper)

They loved making pendant necklaces, accessories for the nose, ears, masks and so on.

Most of the pieces left are in the Gold Museum of Bogota. The pieces were found in archaeological excavations. Sadly, a huge amount of them were melted by the Spaniards conquerors and taken to Spain as a gift to the Royal Family.


Inca Jewelry comes from some regions in Bolivia, Ecuador and the north of Chile. Historians think it lasted from 1200 until the Spanish conquest by Francisco de Pizarro and the fall of Cuzco in 1533.

When the Inca emperor Atahualpa went in 1532 to Cajamarca to converse with Pizarro, was put in jail. Then Pizarro didn’t have enough and hid a huge amount of gold gathered by the Incas to rescue their emperor. That gold also was melted and sent to Spain in ingots.

Fortunately, a few pieces eluded the catastrophe.

This jewelry was manufactured only to be given away to gods and the emperor.

Have a look at the images to know better this pre-Columbian art.

Isabel Muñoz

Trying to reproduce Isabel Muñoz’s art work has been the most worrying challenge I’ve faced since I decided to start back in January a 12-months work with my colleagues from El Objetivo Magico, copying one master work per month.

Isabel Muñoz was the master photographer to imitate this month, chosen by my colleague Sara Lagunas. And I can tell you it’s been very challenging to me to reproducing the work of one of the biggest talents in Spain.

Let me give you a few bites about her biography, not much though, since you can find a lot about her on the Internet. Her awards, travels and artwork could well fit the plot of a movie. Her series of the Cuban traditional dance, her Cambodian, Turkish or Kenian works or the amazing set of photographs about the children at the Beijing circus school are just a few breathtaking samples that amaze me.

The momento I sat down in front of her artwork I felt nervousness. I lost in thought every time I listen to her. It’s not only the light, how she treated the leather or her way of dealing with black and white what grab my attention. It’s her courage when capturing what she feels. That’s what makes me feel so small…

And now I’m supposed to take my Nikon camera with my inexperienced hands and to try to emulate one of these magnificent and full of passion pieces… That moment I wonder if I am embarrasing myself trying to copy her.

So I started studying her work, her editions, the way she treated the light and also I had to look for models for the session of pictures.

The momento I saw the series “Oriental” I thought on my friend Malen: She’s being dancing since I can remember… And that’s too long! Malen is a pharmacist but she spends every available second in the day to practice. Her passion for dancing and her extreme dedication are admirable. She can dance tango, tap dancing, the belly dance and any other saloon dance. However she’s not a professional, although her couple at dancing indeed is and actually dances for a group called “Sweet Twins STW”.

I was totally convinced I couldn’t find a better model to my purpose. Like all the biggest discoverings in life, this series of photographs came from a garaje… I hope you like them.






I’ve had a professional relationship with Mapy, my second model, since many years ago. She is our Creative Director, the head who actually turns to reality all my ideas on and off-line. Nowadays she also is a friend after so many years of work.

I loved chatting with her about her tattoos, how she managed to hide at home to keep them out of her parents sight and how she spent a Summer wearing a jacket until she succumbed to the sun and had to put it off.

Mapy is an illustrator, creative and graphic designer. Her body reflects her sensibility and art. You can read on her skin what she feel about painting, the masters she admires and follow. That’s why I thought of her when I saw the Isabel Muñoz’s series about gangs. Her tattoos grabbed my attention long time ago and I felt respect for the fact that she had her passion on her own body. To me that is so brave and beautiful at once…

This series came out from an evening at home.






I’d like to emphasise I feel the deepest respect for this amazing professional who is Isabel Muñoz. I’m only an amateur pretending to learn something by copying the biggest photographers in history.

Here’s her official website, in case you want to check her whole work.








Philippe Halsman

This month the protagonist has been Sylvia Pares, from El Objetivo Magico. She chose Philippe Halsman as our master to copy in the photographic proyect in April. And I’ve had again the help of Monia Giannini as my main model. To be honest, it’s because of her that this challenge has been possible to achieve. Her contribution this month has been even more enthusiastic than the past month with Sarah Moon.


Also I can’t forget to mention other contributors like the restorer Gustavo Santano, who prepared for us the bird made in cardboard that we used in the Tipi Hedren’s picture. Rodrigo, on the other hand posed in front of the camera with a young Marlon Brandon style.


Let me tell you a bit more about Philippe Halsman, our hero this month. He started his career as a Photographer in Paris back in the 30s. He loved using a innovative reflex-style camera with double lense that he designed himself. Halsman opened his own study in 1934.

When France was defeated in 1940 he had to leave the country and reached the United States thanks to Albert Einstein’s help. Over there he got started a metheoric career that took him to be the protagonist in 101 covers of the magazine Life. In addition he was required to take photos of the most relevant politicians and other celebrities in the country, like Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, The Kennedy family among others.


Halsman also cooperated with Salvador Dali for 37 years. As a result, they launched loads of unusual photos named in series like Dali Atomicus or Dali’s Mustache… I had the chance to watch a few of them in a showroom last Summer in Madrid.

By the beginning of the 50s, Halsman started asking their models to jump right in the moment of the shot. These unique and full of energy images have become in an important part of his legacy.

All my colleagues from El Objetivo Magico and myself decided by the mid of the month to take photos of people jumping. It was the funniest experience in months!

If you have a camera nearby, just try it with family and friends!

Loads of laughs are guaranteed…

Sarah Moon

I guess you’ve never heard of her before but let me give you a few spots, show you some of her photos and you’ll soon realize you did know her work. You’ll feel you do know her.

Sarah Moon is the photographer who was behind the Anais-Anais from Cacharel launch campaign. Do you remember those romantic images that appeared together with the parfum? Those images that quickly became an icon back in the 80s? Well, all of them were shot by her.

She, Sarah, is an artist with a very special personality and her photos are unmistakable. She’s got international fame thanks to her rich, refined, smart and unique style.

The use of Polaroid films and the personal treatment she stamps over the negatives end in pictures that seem to be withdrawn from the past: black and white shots without actual white to dress all kind of scenerios and techniques like vignettes, out-of-focus photos, close eyes, blurry faces and rooms but overall, elegance, a bunch of elegance.


“Very often I envy those who know how to take shots of the life. I refuse it. I start from nothing, don’t testify about nothing. I make up a story that don’t tell about. I imagine a situation that doesn’t exist. I create a place and remove other. I move the light, unmake and then, try again…” Sarah Moon.

And now that you already know a bit more about Sarah Moon, let me tell you my story with her and her work over the past month.

I fall in love with her work from the very first second I knew about it, with all her photos. Then I started gathering in a folder those I wanted to reproduce, but that folder was getting heavier and heavier… I realized I needed a model, someone that let me catch Sarah’s essence, the beauty of her images, her serenity and hypersensitivity. So I called my friend Monica Gianninni. I told her my plan and she didn’t hesitate. She just accepted.

I was excited and truly nervous I have to admit. I went to her place with all my stuff: fabrics, head-dresses, powder compacts, scarves… The session took us over four hours out in her balcony. Monica is not only very pretty in the outside, as you can see in the photos, but also is very sensible and a has a special way to express and show beauty. That helped me a lot and made my work much easier.


Every time we meet we laugh out of loud but that evening we were very tired. According to Monica, the work of a model is very hard, and she is right. She got the essence of any of the roles she had to perform and played it brilliantly. A thousand thanks to Monica. Without her this project would not have been this good.







I shot the second half of the photos with Carola at home: I just needed a white sheet, a little spotlight at the background and my flash. I loved this session for the delicate style. Sarah Moon did this work for the Vogue magazine a few years ago.

azul-carola (1)



Then, I spent many hours editing with my Friends of adventures. The group in Facebook has been very active over the last weeks. Everyone wants to recommend something, suggest beautiful ideas… The work that my colleagues have done is just breathtaking. I’m talking here from my heart, don’t miss the photos of the rest of the group because they’re really worth it.

Here’s the link to Verónica´s blog, also to Araceli and Eva. Have also a look at the Beatriz ,  Iratxe, Sylvia and Sara´s  Flickr profile, and enjoy their wonderful work.

And of course, our joint blog: El Objetivo Mágico.

Another incredible month…

Special thanks to Mima Molina who taught be about Sarah Moon. She is her photographer but unfortunately Mima couldn’t take part this month in our project for a personal reason.

Also thank you very much to each of you that follow this exciting project every day.


Francesca Woodman

Each month will come with its own difficulties, I have that clear. Sometimes it’ll be tech issues, some other times problems with the team, knowledge concerns or emotional worries.

Last February the issues I found on my way were almost all emotional. Technically I had no problems to reach something similar to what the photographer Francesca Woodman did… She is our VIP character this month and I’d love to introduce her to you all.

Francesca Woodman was a very Young American photographer born within a family of artists. When she was only 22 she sadly decided to end her own life. This fact was the first one that catched my attention when I started studying her work. Her parents, still alive, never got the notoriety she did get in just 8 years of an art career. Neither Betty Woodman or George Woodman will ever have a retrospective in the Guggenheim Museum as Francesca did.

Previously I hadn’t heard about her work, neither her life or her story. I just realized how much her work impacted on me when I looked for their pictures… I was speechless. I felt a feeling of intranquility that I can’t explain with words. Francesca was only a 20 years old girl when she already got naked in front of a camera with no complex, very determine to not to hide. In a few of the pictures she looks like frightened, worried, In others however you can perceive her calm, her peace, she seems to be so tranquil.

Francesca, smart, sweet and fragile…

It was difficult for me to deeply understand her work. I only achieved that purpose when I saw the documentary their parents narrated about her life. I’m adding the link at the end of this post in case you reader, want to watch it. I was in awe to hear them talking about her daughter with such serenity.

After that it was even more difficult to select the pictures I wanted to reproduce. I beginned with the ones about the hands, then I followed imitating those with shoes. I finished my work trying to simulate the picture where she is sat down close to the window surrounded by frames over a small table. All of them were done from the total admiration to her work.

Her pictures take you back to that lapse of time. Her images seem to be pulled out from the Victorian epoque of the end of the 19th Century. You’ll be able to see phantasmagorical shadows moving around inside the image in lost scenerios. Human figures appear blurry or under the shadow of the old places she always chose for the scenes.

She was just a girl with a prodigious mind who in just a few years gave us more than 800 pitures. Her parents are the legal owners of her work. We are allowed to see less than a 25% out of the total collection.

My Friends from “El Objetivo Magico” had the great idea to give me away a book about her work as a present for my birthday. A gift that has already become an unforgettable memory about this whole month of hard work.

Before she ended her life, Francesca sent a letter to a friend in the school with these words on it: “My life at this point is like very old sediment in the bottom of a cup of coffee. I’d rather prefer to die young leaving a few realizations […] than hastily erase all these delicate things…”

With all my respect, admiration and appreciation to her, here are my images of February.






Here’s the link to our Blog, together with one of the artwork of each of us (The Magic Lens):  Verónica de Prado, Eva Menacho, Iratxe Cieza, Araceli Calabuig, Beatriz Pina, Sylvia Parés, Mima Molina y Sara Lagunas.  It’s really worth watching what they have done this past February.

All posts images are inspired in Francesca Woodman’s artwork included within the book “Francesca Woodman” by Chris Townsend.

Here’s also the link to her life:  Francesca Woodman. Don’t hesitate to watch it if you have the chance. It’s over 30 minutes long but it’s worth it. más de una hora pero de verdad es impresionante.

You can find more info:


Vila Bakery

The “Forn de la Vila” (Vila Bakery) of Forcall.  A bread oven dating back to the Eighteenth Century.

The second surprise that my morning stroll around Forcall brought to me was the discovery of the oldest functioning bread oven in Europe.

In a narrow alleyway, very close to the square, I saw a facade on which shone an informative plaque, it was the first thing that I photographed: “Forn de la Vila” (Vila Bakery). This bakery has been baking its artisanal bread and pastries since 1246… something that struck me as rather admirable and surprising.


After a few seconds I found myself chatting to Margarita, who, with a large smile on her face told me how healthcare had recently come and made it compulsory for them to separate the oven from the bread delivery area. Both had been sharing one space for centuries, thus a decision was made in that moment to place a large glass window that would allow the visitor to continue enjoying the view of the old ovens, the bread making surfaces, and the trays filled with pastries and bread ready to be baked.


On the other side of the glass was the small sales area laden with traditional and exquisite pastries typical to the area of which I had never even heard.

The “Almendrados” (derived from Almonds) are small pinkish colored pastries made from meringue, sugar and almonds. Only a few minutes later I had taken photographs of Margarita putting one of her full trays of these sweets in the old oven. She recommended that I return later to try them once they had cooled, however, between one thing and another when I finally wanted to return to Margarita, she had already closed and I was left still wanting to try them.

As soon as you entered, Margarita displayed her various sweet pastries in a large display case. These included: the “Coquetas” (meaning the “Coquettish”), she makes them out of pumpkin preserve; the “Rolletes” (the “Rolls”) were small doughnuts with a little bit of spirit that gave them a special taste; the “Carquiñolis” (Almond biscuits) were small portions of very well toasted almond bread. Margarita told me that this was a pastry that could keep very well for a rather long time. Behind these were her variety of traditional breads: white bread made from wheat flour, hearth-baked bread and the typical bread rolls of the area that are made with 1 kg of oil and dough.



I left there wildly energized by so many sweets and happy for having discovered this small baking paradise of the Maestrazgo region, which had been making artisanal products since 1246… At least eight centuries.

Margarita was very friendly, not only did she allow me to take some photos of inside the oven, but she also happily posed for me with an enormous smile.

The photographs are not of the best quality, as the oven did not have much light and I did not want to use flash. I did the best I could within my knowledge and resources available at the time.

If you ever pass by the Maestrazgo region do not hesitate to pop in to Forcall and visit Margarita and her bread and pastry shop. It’s worth it. It is like a little bread museum with a treasure of a bread-making oven, unaltered since the Eighteenth Century. This place was one of the biggest surprises of this trip.

Forn de la Vila

C/El Forn, 4

Forcall (Castelló)


In Forcall, two surprising things happened to me

In Forcall, two surprising things happened to me. The first was meeting Pep Orti. Pep stopped me in the street, it was 9:00am and I had been taking shots of the small treasures I was discovering around the town. His invitation was direct: “if you like photography, perhaps you would like to photograph my museum”. After passing by the hotel for breakfast I quickly returned, I soon found myself inside a small premise on the street of with traditional town houses of this area.

Pep’s small museum had been created upon his father’s (Florenci Orti) initiative. A wide space with very high ceilings, and a dim and subtle light that encased each piece, different tools of all types and periods including traditional farming tools, which Florencio had been collecting and restoring throughout his entire life. Pep told me how the majority of the pieces exhibited there had arrived in his hands; through small exchanges and bartering with the neighbors in the area. A lifetime of compiling and restoring all sorts of tools traditionally used for slaughters, grapevine cultivation, transport, shoemaking, farming…



Florenci, now retired, is an espadrille expert as was his wife and parents. All of them created the traditional “espardeñas” (– a traditional canvas shoe with a hemp or jute sole secured to the foot by straps). These shoes, worn by all in Forcall and the rest of the region, were used for both parties and work. Pep continues and maintains this tradition, sporadically doing workshops for those interested in this shoemaking craft. That exact same weekend he had planned to do one, and had prepared all the material ready to receive his students who were each going to leave with a beautiful pair of espadrilles handcrafted by them.

The top part of the premises accommodates a very complete exhibition of tools used to treat the fibers and all other tasks carried out by an espadrille maker. Pep’s father’s, mother’s and grandmother’s work seats are all exhibited there, like a small display of espadrilles from different periods.

I left with a fantastic feeling, excited to see how someone had had the sensitivity to select, compile, and classify all those elements that had formed part of the work, culture and life of the town with so much care and attention. It is these little stories that are able to make me happy and give sense not only to one day but to a whole trip. These small stories are the ones that reach me deep inside and it also excites me to hear about the main characters in them.

alpargatas11 alpargatas10

I leave you with some images that I captured while Pep explained to me, in full detail, the history of each and every piece displayed there upon his father, Florenci’s, initiative.

Many thanks to Florenci for compiling and ordering all these small testimonies of the life and work of his region, and also to Pep for maintaining, caring for, and spreading his legacy with so much careful attention.

alpargatas9 Maria Vintage alpargatas5 alpargatas3


The Art of “Ronqueo”

One of the things that I wanted to do when I found out that I would be spending a few days in Cadiz, was to get up on day at the break of dawn and go down to the Barbate port to see the arrival of the boats with their fresh fish. Of course I could not leave the camera at home. One morning this August with the typical strong wind of the region blowing intensely, I equipped myself with all the necessary tools and presented myself in the port at 7:30am to live this peculiar moment at first hand.

I was hugely disappointed at the start; just this week the Barbate float happened to be in the sardine fishing grounds of Cadiz, which meant that those of Barbate were empty and without a single boat loaded with fish arriving to dock. It seemed that the day I had chosen wasn’t the best, however, as always when one isn’t expecting anything; you end up getting a pleasant surprise.

Maria Vintage

And this is how it went, before long I was speaking with one of the people in charge of the port, he was explaining everything that was happening in a small corner of the port that had caught my attention, it was the only corner with any activity. There were ten seamen or so immersed in the only two activities that gave life to the port during those days: loading a boat with tons of fresh herrings for the bait of the 3000 tuna fish that are kept in the fattening and grow-out ponds close to the trap; the dismantling of this, in function since April 20th of this year, will happen next season in 2014.


Everything continued more or less the same as it had done 3000 years ago when the Phoenicians installed themselves in the region, giving start to the capturing of tuna fish that crossed from the Atlantic to spawn in the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians constructed the first factories dedicated to salting the tuna, creating a commercial route from these coasts, to transport the tuna captured and treated in Gadir (current Cadiz), across the entire Mediterranean.

They used amphorae made of mud that formed a two handled peak at the end; these were divided into various compartments on the inside. The base was for the salted fish, and in the higher parts there were different aromatic herbs and perfumes, which managed to eliminate the unpleasant odor during the long journey. The boats, loaded with sand beds in their cellars, sailed with the amphorae stuck over them in order to avoid the boat moving in dangerous seas throughout the duration of their long commercial journey.

The Phoenicians were the driving force behind a tradition and technique that lasted years after the Romans. These were the founders of the current Bolonia beach in the city of “Baelo Claudia”, where the main tuna treating factory of the Mediterranean may be found, still perfectly visible. There the tuna was cut up; they salted it in the great deposits dug out in the grounds, and with the deprivation and viscera of fish in the area, mainly of tuna, it was macerated in direct sunlight during the whole summer. They also created the prized sauce “Garum”, which was a delicacy during the period. This sauce is considered to be an aphrodisiac, and due to its elevated cost, it was only consumed by the wealthier classes of Ancient Rome. In view of the ingredients and treatment, I am sure that now we would not even be able to even smell the costly and renowned sauce.

The Arabs arrived after, to whom we owe the word “almadraba”: place where one beats.

The tradition continues up to the present day as every year the labyrinths of nets are hung up, just the way they were in the past. Through a channel formed by nets anchored to the bottom, it is possible to direct the tunas to a great big net from which they can no longer escape. After lifting this great load, the tunas are pulled up to the surface where they are captured one by one by some extremely strong arms. Not just anyone is capable of lifting pulsing fish, giving violent jerks, and weighing between 300 to 500kgs, and then to throw them onto the surrounding boat decks which are forming a ring that becomes increasingly narrower as long as the precious load is still being extracted from the waters.

Maria Vintage

In the forties there were more than twenty salting locations in the area where people from all over went to stock up on their famous salted fish. The salt, which is from the Chiclana salt flats and thicker than usual, is perfect for making “Mojama” (dried salted tuna). In those years of misery in Spain the star product was the herring sardine, however, dogfish, white tuna, tuna and flying fish were also salted. There are very few factories left now, although they continue to work in the exact same way as the Phoenicians and Romans did in their day.

I was told all of this in the port, but afterwards they advised me to visit “La Chanca”. It is one of the few craftwork and family-run businesses left in the area, in which a curious and interesting tuna museum has been installed, and where you are explained everything and are able to taste the products. Here we see the tuna get cut up and hear the famous “ronqueo”, the hoarse sound made when the expert hands pass the knife through the dorsal spine to separate the tuna loins. It is a noise similar to that made by a person snoring, and from this, comes the name.

A great variety of products are salted, preserved and smoked in the area, above all tuna fish, and they do it exactly the same way as it was done 3000 years ago. It is an art that should never be lost, and that all of us should know about and value for its long tradition in our history.

Maria Vintage Maria Vintage

I leave you here with a small photographic report of my experiences that morning in August, I hope you like it.


Ronqueo: A hoarse sound, such as a snore.