He was born in Iniesta, a town in La Mancha neighboring Fuentealbilla, town of the well-known footballer Andrés Iniesta. José Córdoba began studying teaching in Cuenca, but his future changed when he moved to Barcelona and became interested in healthcare. He completed a nursing degree and started as an internship student at the Bellvitge Hospital, where he has been working for more than 40 years.

Photography has always been his hobby, especially photographing classic cars. The snapshot he took of a vintage car passing through the Plaza de Espanya during the Barcelona-Sitges Rally has been chosen among the best in La Vanguardia’s Readers’ Photos for the month of April. A recognition that he did not expect and that will be the fruit to continue giving free rein to his photographic passion.

How do you feel receiving this recognition? How was your reaction?

We all like recognition when we do something we are passionate about, it is like an “ego”. I didn’t expect it, I was very excited. My family was joking when you called me to interview me and take some photos: “Look handsome!”, they told me. “Are you going to look elegant or what?” In the end, the photographer takes the photo for himself but with the subconscious of sharing it for others and hopes that they like it, without seeking total exposure. At least in my case.

How would you summarize your photography style? What inspired you to take this snapshot?

My favorite photography is of motorsport events, such as the Barcelona-Sitges International Rally. That’s why I took the photo of the car passing through Plaza de Espanya. In addition, I turned on the portrait mode that my phone has and I got this perspective with the background as blurred and that highlights the car with the people inside, who were also dressed in period clothing. The result seemed very curious to me, since it seems to be a toy car in a montage. I also really like black and white photos. In fact, I took this same photo in black and white and it turned out spectacular. Since it was an old car and the people in it were also wearing classic dresses, it looked like the photo had been taken 100 years ago.

Are you fond of vintage rallying?

I’m not a big fan of motorsports, car racing… I’m more into seeing old cars. I took the photo with this angle and plane because it is the one I am most used to and because of the light. It would not have been the same if the Venetian Towers or the Las Arenas building appeared in the background. It wouldn’t have stood out as much.

Are you part of a photography group or do you prefer to be alone when you go out to photograph as you like?

I’m going alone. If you want to take photos, it is better to go alone or with someone with the same concerns, because you have to wait a long time to take the best angle of photo of an object. When I go on a trip it’s different. If you want to photograph a monument, it does not move, so you can take all the photos you want from all possible perspectives.

Do you only like photography of motorsport events or also other themes? Is there any other topic?

I like street photography more and more. Whenever I take a photo of someone, I make a gesture to let them know that I am going to photograph them or I ask them directly if they give me their permission. I never publish the photos on any social network or web portal. But in general I have a very global vision of photography, I don’t close myself. If I’m in the countryside and I see a butterfly, I’m going to chase it until I take a photo. In insect portraits I never edit the black and white images, because in the case of butterflies, their color is too beautiful to remove. You have to have a lot of patience to make detailed shots of insects, because they don’t stand still.

You worked at the Bellvitge Hospital, where a photography contest was organized, the Bellvitge Art. What was it about? Did you participate on any occasion?

Two doctors, Jaume Berengué and Javier Linares, created Bellvitge Art, a photography contest about healthcare. I participated many times and had the honor of winning various awards. I took a total of 7 statuettes. The theme of the contest prioritized health, but also captured the feelings and expressions of people or medical techniques. It was very interesting, there were very good photographers.

And in your case, how was the transition from analog to digital camera?

Going from analog to digital was a great challenge for me. I still remember that on the trips we took with my wife I had to carry the camera, the angle lens, the lenses, the rechargeable film, the tripod… I would come home with a red back and shoulders because of the weight of carrying all the equipment. photograph above. On the other hand, the digital camera is more convenient. I suppose that professionally it is also heavy, since you have to carry more professional equipment and gadgets, but in comparison it is more pleasant.

When I was young I used compact cameras, then I switched to a SLR until I had my first digital camera in 2009. I had a Canon with a very curious APS system, because it allowed you to remove the film from the camera. When they developed the photos, they gave them to you with a case with a film and a contact.

And as a curiosity, in the past when you went through customs they might ask you for the invoice or information about the camera you were carrying. I bought my first camera at Fotoprint, and my wife, Encarna, gave it to me. They gave you a sales document, which you had to show at customs and that way you didn’t have to carry the invoice for the camera with you. I still keep the document as a souvenir.

Every photographer has their influences that inspire their photographic style. Which are yours?

Well, from classics like Robert Doisneau, Robert Newton and Man Ray, for black and white photos, to Tino Soriano, Kim Manresa or Gervasio Sánchez, for travel photography. However, I pay more attention to the photo and not so much to the artist who took it. I look for the angle, the contrast… with which they make their works, then I try to take it into account and apply it in my photography.

How have you developed your photography technique? Are you self-taught or have you taken a course?

I am self-taught, I spent a couple of years at the Can Deu Civic Center with Rodrigo Stocco, a Brazilian photographer who took some photography courses. He took us out to the street to take photos, but when he gave us homework I was very “anarchist.” He always told him: more than learning about photography, I come to talk about photography with my friends. Even so, you always learned something: to sweep, cut, to think more when you take the photo… but I took it more calmly than my classmates. Step by Step.

Can you tell an anecdote about when you took the photo of the vintage car from the Barcelona-Sitges International Rally? And in general when you take photos?

Sometimes it is anecdotal when I start taking street portraits of tourists, because communicating in English with them is funny, because I muddle through it as best I can and in the end we end up having a laugh. And I also remember one time, during the pandemic, there was a girl who was wearing a mask with a drawing of a tiger. I asked her if she could take a photo, because she made me laugh. With my basic English and with many gestures, in the end she nodded gratefully. And one last thing is that, in Sant Jordi, a hat shop on Las Ramblas had a little stand set up with some ladies posing with their hats. There were so many people around that it caught my attention and I wanted to take a photo of them. They asked me to send them the results of the images, which I made in black and white, and the most endearing thing was the note they sent me thanking them.

What has been the most outstanding photographic work of your career? And any future projects?

I remember how shocked I was by a photo from 30 years ago of a bull jumping into the ring. It’s on analog. Spectacular! And then a photo that I have a special affection for going up with my wife Encarna to the Bujaruelo Valley, in the Ordesa National Park. We were exhausted and when we reached the top we did not expect to have the views we saw: a beautiful valley with no one, with a path that went down, where I took photos of Encarna. I didn’t notice a small detail in one of these photos I took, and that is that an otter was visible in the background that we were not able to see at that time. We later saw it enlarged on the computer, when I was looking at all the photographic background that I took that day.

Did you know this section of La Vanguardia Readers’ Photos? How did you discover it?

Yes, I met her many years ago, when I moved from El País to La Vanguardia. You posted some photos to me. It was a section that at that time had a very small space only in the paper edition, unlike now. You published a photo in which I denounced the placement of four containers in a place with a lot of traffic, where there was neither a restaurant nor houses around them. I like to see all the photos you are publishing. Both on paper and digitally, I look at all the photographs I can.