Vejer Feria 2014 - the best of Andalucia

The Feria is a post-easter spring celebration held in Andalucia, a bit like our county shows in the UK but with bigger bulls and a tad more sunshine. The Feria in Vejer de la Frontera is one of the best and shows some of the finest horses and bulls you will see anywhere. They also host amazing Flamenco displays by local students and children on the main stage. The children are also paraded through the village in carriages accompanied by the local brass band.

People come from all over Andalucia to enjoy the festivities which go on into the small hours. I’d guess that people from other countries amounted to less than 2% of the visitors. The bulk of the show ground is made up of a large fairground and many large tents hosted by local companies and organisations. None of these ‘party tents’ were roped off with ‘privado’ signs as you find in Seville and I was made to feel very welcome. There is also a bullring nearby and although I have no interest in seeing a bullfight, the matadors made interesting subjects.

Unusually for such a spectacle, I saw only 2 or 3 serious-looking photographers documenting the proceedings, mostly using long zoom lenses, shooting candid pictures from a great distance. As ever, if you get up closer to your subject, you will be rewarded by more intimate photographs. Although my Spanish is quite limited, if you learn how to politely ask if you can take a portrait, you will rarely be turned down. By the end of the Feria I had shaken hands and shared a few laughs with many of the locals and visitors I photographed.

The surrounding area hosts some of the best natural beaches in Spain so I mixed my Feria visits with relaxing beach walks and photographing locals in the quiet bars of the village. Most of these images were made with the Olympus OMD EM1 camera with a few shot with the Sony A7 matched with a Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH manual focus lens

a charismatic looking visitor

Canos de Meca beach - that’s Africa in the distance btw

The man in charge of logistics at the Feria

‘street photography’ Vejer style!

channeling Vivian Maier

boys getting oranges from a tree

colourful visitor

off camera Quantum Q-Flash into the setting sun

the Paul Newman of cats

one of the bull and horse handlers

The girl with the afro is one of Spains best Flamenco singers

This man has been coming to the same spot each day for over 50 years where he chats with other elders of the village, he is now accompanied by his carer

The locals getting down in the Flamenco tent

a small dispute I suspect, amongst the flamenco girls

The Flamenco show was a highlight as usual

child flamenco dancers from around Vejer

barmaids in one of the more popular tents

unloading the area’s prize bulls for display

the bull ring

one of Spain’s champion matadors

another highly regarded matador

another highlight was the equestrian display

some beautiful horses put on a show

Taylor Wessing prize? …probably not enough freckles or red hair!

market stalls lining the path to the Feria

Windsurfers in nearby Tarifa

Andalucia in the foreground with Africa in the distance

#cloudporn on the flight home

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