Following on from my previous post, here are two colour interpretations of the Plaza de Toros in Ronda. In contrast with the drama and rawness of the black and white image, I’ve softened the tones, and emphasised the pillars and the curve and flow of the structure to give a different sense of the enclosure and what it means, or might mean, to those who come here for an afternoon’s entertainment.
I wrote in an earlier post that the decision to present an image in colour or in black-and-white was partly, perhaps, a matter of taste and preference, but more profoundly, a question of interpretation.
Here are two otherwise identical images of the Plaza de Toros – the bull-ring – in Ronda, which illustrate the point. Which do you prefer – and more importantly, why?
Puente Nuevo, the ‘new’ bridge, dates to the 18th-century and spans the 100m-deep Tajo Gorge, connecting the old and new parts of Ronda.
Ronda was a surprise: approaching up a steep hill, and entering the town through drab, less-than-interesting neighbourhoods, we wondered if we had made a mistake, booking for two nights. We checked into our hotel, headed out to explore, and immediately fell in love.
Indeed, Ronda quickly became one of our favourite towns in all of Andalucia, and we would happily have stayed for several days more.
We came across this tapas bar near the City Hall in Sevilla one evening, liked what we saw, went inside, and liked it so much we came back the next evening. It must have been someone’s birthday – there was a celebratory group of people, laughing, drinking, singing, clapping, and the whole scene, the ambience, the joyousness, was quite lovely and quite mesmerising.
Between Sevilla and Ronda lies the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema, a rugged, mountainous country of dramatic views and towering skies, where pueblos blancos – the white villages – cling to the rock. This is Zahara de la Sierra, where we stopped for lunch.
Seville Cathedral stands on the site of a great mosque, built by the Almohads in the 12th century. It is the largest cathedral in Europe. Its bell-tower, La Giralda, was in its original incarnation a minaret, on top of which were erected a Christian belfry and Christian symbols.
You climb La Giralda not by stairs but via an internal ramp, built so that horses could ride to the top. As you climb, the views – of the cathedral, of Sevilla unwinding itself beneath you – are not to be missed.
The sense of the ages, the consciousness of ancient and multiple histories and cultures, the sheer drama of the spectacle, call for images in black and white. But the bright Andalucian skies, the warmth of the sun on the old stone, demanded colour. Take a look at these photos of the pigeon, looking out from a ledge: they are the same image, but how different in tone, mood, message!
The bells and the lattice-work, I think, because graphically so strong, work powerfully in black and white:
But when it comes to the view of the tower itself, I am torn, between the strong diagonals of the one view, and the warm tones of the brick and stone, in the other.