Every photographer has a few shots he considers better than others. Naturally this preference is tainted by personal likes and loathing’s of the subject concerned.

You will note that I have purposefully omitted photos off the 100 Club of two toreros that I considered “loathsome” in every aspect of their torero!

Here then is the best most perfect photograph I have even done:
Jose Tomas, Saint Tomas, those of us that followed him called ourselves Tomasitos and were proud of it. This was taken in Almeria, the prettiest Plaza in all of Spain. The pass is called a “ trincherilla” making the bull cut sharply in front of him, exhibiting total dominance.





In the second foto Enrique Ponce is just finishing up a “rodonda” and walking away from the bull. Nobody (except El Juli) knows bulls as well. Ponce likes fighting close. Any matador that doesn’t have his suit of lights covered in blood ISN’T WORTH SEEING.

Here more than just the shadow of death appears, the sword can be seen too. Late at night from cheap seats in Granada. Ecktachrome slide film. The old adage is you kill with the cape, not the sword-- is still true. And a good kill IS EVERYTHING!

El Cid has become the master of the “natural”. It is the most important pass as it opens the body of the man and heart to the bull. It must be slow, so slow that the cape drags along and ground and almost folds itself demonstrating “temple” slowness and control. In Sevilla this year I am convinced Cid earned the ears for 7-8 of the best naturals I have ever seen.

Here is my friend Javier Conde with the same pass. I want you to learn it. You will notice I like things in three dimensions, hence the shadows. Local ring, Vera, Almeria. I invited five of my workers and we sat in the cheap seats eating grapes soaked in Anisette. When I finally woke up, it was the last bull of the day and this is one of the few shots I got off.

El Juli (Julian Lopez) is the protagonist. He learned all his neat passes in México where they apréciate him greatly. He brought them back and has been copied copoiously since. This pass was in fact invented by a Mexican and is called a “gaonera”. Juli often finishes it with a flurry of overhead passes, sweeps and swooshs that are pure eye candy to the aficinado.



Sebastian Castella excites people with his daring. He will not be denied awards if he wants them. Here he is performing a “trafaller“ pass and making it look casual and yet, elegant. He brought Sevilla to its feet and Madrid too.



Toro Iberius. Brave True Proud. Always ready to quarrel.

Cesar Jimenez with a modified “pase de la muerte” but from his knees.





Pepin Liria demonstrating total control over his huge beast in perfect derechazo (right hand pass). Close, tight and in your face.








At first glance this picture won´t mean much to you, unless you realize that the man on the horse “picando” isn’t wearing the traditional round hat of a picador but rather is a thin bullfighter who has jumped up. His name is Pepin Jimenez and he is my favourite local torero, from Lorca. He is a school teacher during the week. It is the biggist corrida of his life, in the fourth largest ring in Spain and he is on the billing ( cartel ) with none other than the legendary gypsy torero, Curro Romero, who has had more songs, more poetry, more newspaper articles, etc., dedicated to him than any other matador (front left green) and the incredible David Fandila “El Fandi” ( blue traje ) who actually runs backwards while placing the banderillas. Pepin was to not be denied being a showman too.

There are lots of more photographs to discover on the SPECIAL TORERO PHOTO PAGE.


Web site © Ric Polansky 2009