Photos with the winner of IX Encierro Competition

A photograph taken by Rubén Albarrán Beltrán in the Mercaderes stretch has been selected as the best of the Encierro in 2018.  David González del Campo wins second place with a photo of the Callejón or tunnel entering the building.

A total of 23 photographers who were accredited and were from different sources and countries that participated in this competition that catches each stretch of the Encierro.

Sixty-four shots were presented from 23 professionals. In Albarrán’s case, he presented three – one of the Town Hall stretch, another of Estafeta and one more of the curve which was his favorite and the winner of the prize.  “Every day is a prize when a newspaper prints your picture, so that participating in this competition was one more incentive. I began to think that I might win the prize for that stretch… but winning the competition is a satisfaction, and another motivation.  Of all the photos that I took that day, this was the one I liked the most,” he explained. The photo was also published in paper, so that, in this case, the prize has been double.

Rubén Albarrán, with his photo, in Mercaderes. Photo by Dani Burgui / OIP 2019.

Rubén Albarrán, with his photo, in Mercaderes. Photo by Dani Burgui / OIP 2019.

From Encierro runner to photographer

Now Albarrán works in his own agency, Cero Press, and collaborates with the international agency Rex.  He especially takes sports pictures – the League of Champions – with matches of teams like Real Madrid or Atlético de Madrid.  Nevertheless, for the last eight years, he has also come to Pamplona to cover Sanfermines. Before beginning photography, he was an encierro runner in popular festivals where he went with his camera: in Guadalajara, in San Sebastián de los Reyes and, for eleven years, in Pamplona, which he describes as the “Champion of encierros”.  “Those who have run it, know this,” he added.

After that, he began to collaborate with a magazine oriented towards bulls, La Talanquera, and finally he left the encierro as a runner to capture its magic through a camera lens. He now forms a part of the photo team of Diario de Navarra“I remember that at first it was difficult to leave it. I felt the same nerves behind the camera as I did as an encierro runner”.  “And that – he continues-, may cause you to shoot the photo ahead of time, and in an encierro, everything can happen in a few seconds.” And the stories they tell.

Albarrán recommends that it is vital to stay calm and focus on one of the runners known for getting close to the bulls. “That way if I see him, I know the bull is near,” says. Even from barricades or from balconies, he has been able to see his friends running the encierro. “And fortunately, I’ve never had to witness a goring of one of these friends,” he states.

Photos from Mercaderes

The winning photo was taken from Mercaderes. Some years ago, installing yourself in the Curve meant getting up very early to find your place. “ I mean around 3:30 a.m.,” remembers Albarrán. But now, from this position, smaller than other stretches of the encierro, there is a special accreditation from the Town Hall of Pamplona. “It’s a zone in which you can play with remote cameras. Position yourself on the barricades, and from the camera, control others almost on ground level or with another lens from a balcony”, he describes. In this case, the image is taken with a Canon 1DX and an objective 16-35 mm.

Getting lucky is not always possible, and a good photo escapes you. During Sanfermines 2019 he keeps trying to capture moments from different points of the barrier along the route.  He takes turns at these points with the others on the team of the newspaper. In any case, Mercaderes is his favorite: “This curve has something.”

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