Bullfight: The Pas de Deux

Bullfight: The Pas de Deux


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The unrivaled drama of bullfighting, with its rigorous combination of athleticism and artistry, and its requisite display of grace under pressure, ignited Hemingway's imagination and inspired him to write his classic work on the subject, "Death in the Afternoon." That same inspiration has taken hold of photographer Ricardo B. Sanchez to create the most unique and elegant record of what is and has always been one of the most controversial "sports" practiced by man. Some contend that bullfighting remains one of the most artful and sophisticated means by which some cultures celebrate the bravery of the hunter. This ancient ritual illustrates the complex relationship between predator and prey, and between culture and nature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983270218
Publisher: Glitterati, Inc.
Publication date: 01/16/2012
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 12.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

RICARDO B. SANCHEZ was born in Caracas, Venezuela and educated in Massachusetts at Deerfield Academy, Tufts University, and The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. For the past decades he has photographed bullfighters at top arenas in Spain and today examines through his lens other cultural subjects of Spain, where he currently resides. His work is in the collection of New York City's International Center of Photography, among other major museums in the United States and abroad, and he has exhibited his work widely in America and Europe.

Read an Excerpt

Bullfighting celebrates the domination and conquest of the fighting bull. It is a real and vital blood rite regardless of whether it is judged as good or evil. I am interested in the idea that we, as predators, kill to live and live to kill. Our intelligence allows us to manipulate, control and pretentiously attempt to dominate what we consider to be “nature,” a “nature” that Western culture has always feared and admired because it is the giver and taker of life. Bullfighting is a ritual with a strict order imposed to simulate the principles of the eternal conflicts between life and death. The bull and bullfighter create a dance in which time, space and energy converge between light and darkness. My photographs record a reflection of this incomprehensible and passionate pas de deux, where the bull and bullfighter trace the lines and forms of their existence with each pass, confronting their lives with their destiny. As an investigation of the photographic language, these photographs are clearly a combination of what the eye can see as apparently real, and what can only be seen as a product of photographic technology. I have photographed the extensive variety of passes portraying the dialogue that occurs between that which moves and that which stays still. These photographs strive to illustrate the proper execution of the passes performed in the arena. These are images that suggest a relationship between the controllable and the uncontrollable, between what is apparently static and what is constantly moving.


“To transmute the threatening and dangerous existence of a beast into something as gossamer as a dancer’s veil is the great marvel of bullfighting” (Manuel Chaves Nogales). Combining the knowledge of his craft with intelligence, willpower, courage and art, a bullfighter uses two cloths (the cape and the muleta) to lead, dominate, pass and kill a charging bull. The pass as it occurs in a bullfight can be regarded as a metaphoric representation of life as it occurs outside of the ring. My photographs illustrate how though all passes are the same—the bull must always pass—they are never equal. Like fingerprints and the steps we take in our lives, there are no two that are identical; the pass is that which forever comes and goes, without ever repeating itself.

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Bullfight: The Pas de Deux 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MrsMurf More than 1 year ago
Bought this as a gift for my boss who grew up in Mexico - it is such a beautiful book and truly makes a statement about the artistry of bullfighting. Shipping was fast and packaging was perfect.