Featured Photographers – Julian Del Nogal

Julian lives in Spain and as you can guess he is another Street Photographer. What I like about Julian’s shots is that they give the atmosphere of Spanish Village life. Not the big city that we usually see and what almost all the previous photographers I have featured shoot.

Julian is founder and administrator of the “Unsuspecting Protagonists” group on Flickr, which grows by the day.

All the photos in this post were taken by Julian and are copyrighted to him. © J. Del Nogal

Ancianos de mi barrio (14)
Ancianos de mi barrio (14)

This is how I see rural Spain. All the men in the village square where they meet every day, sharing their stories and opinions, and keeping up with the news.
Also if you look closely it is like one of those “Spot the Difference” puzzles where you have to notice one item that makes each one different from the others. In other words one thing that each has or hasn’t got that the other four have or haven’t.
I’ll let you have a go and put the answer, as they do in puzzles, at the bottom of the page.
A lovely capture.

Escenas del Rastro 2
Escenas del Rastro 2

When I look at this shot I can hear the Spanish music in my ears. Unlike the usual musical instrument dealers, where they stand beside their instruments and just talk about them, whilst allowing potential customers to play them. The guitar player has a big smiling face, and I can imaging him playing away with that same smile. He looks like a man who sells the instruments for a living and not to fleece people.

La partida de cartas
La partida de cartas

Another shot of the men getting together. With plenty of time on their hands they pass it by playing cards. Usually these shots are of Backgammon or Chess, so it is different to see four players. I can imagine them being there through the seasons. It makes you wonder if they play individually or as partners. If partners, do they always play with the same partner.
Another thing I imagine is a couple of youngsters, who know how to play, coming along and putting up the stakes thinking these are old men and they can beat them easily. Then walking away at the end of the game with their tails between their legs, and empty pockets, to the sound of laughter from the old men who have fleeced them for all their money. The wiley old sods!
My imagination runs away with this shot, because I was fleeced a number of times when I was a “know all” teenager. The old men in the bar used to fall about with laughter when they fleeced the youngsters.

Venta de melones y un perro despistado
Venta de melones y un perro despistado

We are now in the domain of the women. Whilst the men sit on benches and play cards, they are meeting the local greengrocer to get their produce and in this instance melons. If the Spanish women are the same as the older British women they wouldn’t have it any other way. Keeping the men from under their feet and they wouldn’t trust them to buy the veg as they would feel they would come home with inferior quality food.
This shot shows that separation between the sexes of the older generation. The only man here is the salesman. It gives a good feeling of daily life in a small village.
I also like Julian’s title. I don’t know much Spanish, and thought the title was “Selling the melons and pears” or something similar to pears. Using Google it actually translates as “Sale of melons and a clueless dog”. I feel the clueless one now.

El equipo A
El equipo A

Another bench shot. Anyone that knows my work knows I like bench shots. This was an earlier shot that I had seen when first following Julian. When I get these shots they are usually a mix of people. I’ve never managed to get a shot of the old men and them looking at me, so I am still playing catch up with Julian.

Retrato de buena gente
Retrato de buena gente

I really like this shot. It is shown as being taken in 2013, but Julian could so easily have described it as a shot from the thirties or even earlier. You see shots where people add grain to make the shots look old. This doesn’t have to be done with this one. There is fantastic feel with this shot of Julian being the local boy with the only camera in the village, and taking shots of the villagers as they sit and chat. As if the people are not used to a camera and don’t know how to pose as we see in so many old photos. Even the man looks to be on an old hand made wheelchair. There is just something about this shot that takes my imagery to many years before I was even born. Excellent.

Café el Espejo
Café el Espejo

This is the first of 2 shots in the Café el Espejo. I like them both, but for different reasons. In this first one it is the way Julian captures the multiple reflections, with the mirrors seeming to go on forever. On the other hand we have the reflection of the seated man and yet there is only one image of the barman. The attire of the barman really adds to the feel of the building.

Café el Espejo 2
Café el Espejo 2

This is my favourite of the two shots of the Café el Espejo. It is fantastic. There are two scenes in one shot here. We have the barman/waiter dressing the table of the one man, whilst the younger man is watching Julian take the shot.
Now. Take 2. We see the same young man looking straight ahead, and behind him is a girl drinking with someone opposite her. Oh and what do we see outside the window. A group of girls!
The beautiful tiles on the walls give a wonderful aged atmosphere to the bar.
One excellent, or should I say two, images!

Cementerio de San Justo
Cementerio de San Justo

We don’t often see shots of cemeteries. There are a couple of reasons for this. Taking photos in cemeteries in some countries is taboo, and sometimes people don’t like to be reminded of death in photographs. In this shot Julian shows us how a cemetery looks in Spain, which is totally different to any I have seen in the UK. You then look at the older couple and wonder why are they visiting? Is it an older member of their family, or maybe a younger one? Is it a recent death or have they been coming here for years. The man is on a crutch but his arm on the woman’s shoulder. You have to also wonder which of them will be visiting the other in future years.
In my opinion I don’t believe it would be ethical to take a shot head on, and this shot shows there is no need, and that shooting from behind allow the viewer to use their own imagination, and the imagery surely does this for me. Fantastic and thought provoking.

Cuesta de San Roque
Cuesta de San Roque

Well as usual we have to have my favourite shot at the end, and this is it. It was an instant favourite of mine when Julian posted it and it came into my mailbox. Irene and I visited Southern Spain a few years ago and went to quite a few white washed villages where they had streets like this. Nobody about, staying indoors in the heat of the day, and you glance to the side as you see someone slip by.
With this shot it is the women in the street talking to each other from a distance, as opposed to being together, as if it is just a passing word. It is as if they have lined themselves up, both standing on the path down the middle of the lane. The dogs meanwhile of opposite colours look in different directions. The white one towards the neighbour, the black towards Julian.
Added to this is the way the lane runs down then the church tower shoots up in the background. I feel as though I am standing at the top of the street looking at the scene. Julian has taken me there.
You get the feeling that as soon as the ladies finish their conversation then the streets will be deserted again. Superb!

The Puzzle Answer
Looking from the left, the man has an umbrella as opposed to a stick.
The next man has lace up shoes, whereas the others have slip on shoes.
The middle man is the only one with a round necked sweater.
The one last from right is the only one with his hand on his knee.
The man on the right doesn’t have a hat.

Thank you Julian for allowing me to use your photos on the Blog.

To see more of Julian’s work, take a look at his Flickr Photostream

4 thoughts on “Featured Photographers – Julian Del Nogal

  1. Julián del Nogal

    Wayne, thanks a lot for featuring my photos and write about my work in your fantastic blog, really it’s an honor for me and I’m very grateful. As you could see when you look at my photos published portraying people is the part of photography that I like more and passionate, scenes of rural people may be my favorites because of this kind of people has a positive predisposition to allow be photographed showing besides the nakedness of his spirit, much more difficult thing to achieve with city urban photography (that I practise also regularly) although there are certain exceptions which are very welcome for photograph lovers, such as the gay community, that once a year celebrate an important festival in Madrid, they are also clear and transparents and I’m just publishing about it (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdelnogal/sets/72157634548890024/).
    Coming back to rural theme I have to say that Spain is still authentic and genuine and you can find it when traveling on secondary roads. “Venta de melones y un perro despistado”, “retrato de buena gente” and “cuesta de San Roque” were taken in Extremadura, a region with people warm and friendly, as you say well, Wayne, the second one could be an image of thirties, it’s the deep Spain.
    Wayne, your detailed description of each photo is accurate and really appreciate the time you’ve spent on your study and I also wish to thank you for publishing one “taboo” image of cemetery, places where I love to take a walk thinking about life not about death carrying always my camera.
    All of us have taken photos of landscapes, nature…me the first, but now I fell the need to photograph human being, their eyes, their expressions, their feelings…..may like more or less, but if a picture manages to capture the attention of the beholder then it will be worth taking.
    Very funny puzzle game you’ve invented the first photo.
    Thanks again for your article and for the mention of my flickr group (Unsuspecting Protagonists).
    My best wishes.
    Julián del Nogal

    • Julian you are most welcome. It was a pleasure working through your shots. A good reason to fully look at them and I hope others will look at them differently.

      I had the same problem as with each of the others in keeping it to 10!

      Looking forward to more of the rural shots. We hope to return to Spain next year, and I will have a different focus to last time.

  2. Another excellent and detailed post for this new featured photographer. I immediatly loved his photos, it also remind me of some travels in Spain a few years ago, when we stopped in the countryside, between two big or touristics cities…
    Thank you for sharing these photos, I will follow his work.
    Julian, I totally agree when you says : ” I feel the need to photograph human being” I like so see beautiful shots of landscape or macro, but as I try to improve my practice of photo, I note that I shot more and more often people in their environment…

  3. Once again you’ve picked excellent photos for your blog, from a very talented photographer. I really liked the idea of a puzzle game for the first picture as it is both fun and an excellent way to keep your mind sharp. I loved the shot “Café el Espejo” because I really like reflection shots since you have to stare at them longer than other types of shots, which allows you to notice more of the details. Interesting and informative as always, Wayne.

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