Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rugby in England: Oxford

In 1991, in a previous life, I played rugby for the Oxford Old Boys. Yesterday, 23 years later but under the same marvellous English weather, I went to photograph one of their games (they are now the Oxford Harlequins). Full circle.

© nacho hernandez 2014, all rights reserved

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rugby School

During the next few weeks I will be wandering around England (and probably Wales), working on my rugby project.

Very fittingly, I start where it all started for us rugby lovers. In the beautiful Rugby School, in 1823, William Webb Ellis "with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time first took the ball in his arms and run with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game".

The rest is history (with a big H in this case).

© nacho hernandez 2013, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez 2013, all rights reserved

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Notre Dame, Paris

One of the most photographed views of Paris, but always hard to resist. Not for nothing they call it the city of light.

© nacho hernandez 2014, all rights reserved

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sydney Opera House

© nacho hernandez 2013, all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Photography is nothing...

It's life that interests me." -  Henri Cartier-Bresson  (who would have turned 105 today).

Friday, August 09, 2013

Manila American Cemetery

The Manila American Cemetery is the biggest American military cemetery outside of the US. Over 17,000 soldiers from the Pacific war rest there.

It is also, probably, the best taken care of park in the country.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Catholic Church in the Philippines

The French journal Le Monde published recently some of my photos about the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

Although during the Holy Week the catholic fervor is particularly evident, it is also very present during the whole year.

It is estimated that 80% of the Filipino population is Catholic, making it the third biggest Catholic community in the world. In the Philippines the Church is still extremely influential, not only in the day to day life of the Filipinos, but also at the political level.

Many more photos from the Catholic Church in the Philippines in my website.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Thursday, March 07, 2013


In a recent, fun assignment for the Wall Street Journal, I had to photograph a cocktail bar in Makati, the Blind Pig, for an article on speakeasy bars in Asia.

Speakeasies were created during the prohibition in the US. Hidden, you could only access them if you were in the know and  informed about on which door to knock. A slot in that door would then open and a guard would decide if you were allowed into the sanctum or not.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Today, some cocktail bars recreate that speakeasy environment. This comes as a nice surprise in a city like Manila -in my view, the noisiest in the world- as clients are also expected to be quiet inside.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

The biggest challenge shooting this assignment was that the Blind Pig is very, very dark, and flash photography is not allowed (which is, by the way, also a great idea). Therefore I had to go for the blurry and out of focus effect so in vogue these days (the fact that I "had to" try a few of their delicious concoctions may have also helped with the out of focus effect). I blame their fantastic barman, Tog, pictured above.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Children of the Clouds: Western Sahara

"They call themselves the children of the clouds because, since times past, they have been chasing clouds for their water. For more than thirty years now they have also been chasing justice which, in today's world, seems more elusive than water in the desert". - Eduardo Galeano

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Inquire, a new magazine for the iPad, is publishing in its latest issue a piece with my photos and text about the Sahrawi struggle. This new magazine uses a shared-revenue model with its collaborator so by buying the magazine you are supporting independent photojournalism. You can download the app and buy the magazine here.

More photos of the Sahrawi refugee camps and the Western Sahara in my website.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Slasher Cup: Cockfighting in the Philippines

A banner at the top of the Araneta coliseum in Manila reminds us that this place was home to one of the most epic fights in history: The "Thrilla in Manila" that in 1975, for the third and final time, brought face to face Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier to fight for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World. The cocky but totally exhausted Ali prevailed, after the coach of a heavily punished and almost blind Frazier stopped the fight before the 15th and last round.

These days other fighters, cocky in their own way, engage in a no-prisoners combat at the same venue. During the World Slasher Cup, the Olympic Games of cockfighting, hundreds of fights take place in a pit almost identical to a boxing ring.

As each fight is about to start, the shouting among the Kristos or betters starts to go in a crescendo until it becomes generalized yelling in the arena. The roosters are given the go. They study each other for a few seconds. Then a flash, a cross or two of their sharp blades, feathers flying around and the fight is over, one of them biting the dust.

Next fight.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Good photography is not about Zone Printing ...

... or any other Ansel Adams nonsense. It's just about seeing. You either see, or you don't see. The rest is academic. Photography is simply a function of noticing things. Nothing more."  - Elliott Erwitt

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hong Kong: Best city in the world?

Apparently, or according to the smart people at the Economist Intelligence Unit, Hong Kong is the best city in the world.

I was there recently, taking photos of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. Although briefly, I got to explore the city a little bit. I confess I loved it.  Can't wait to be back and I could definitely see myself living in Hong Kong. A photographer's dream to be sure. (They make some mean noodles too).

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Manila skyline

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Ominous sky.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

"Bad weather ...

... makes good pictures." - Sam Abell (quoting his father Thad, also a photographer)

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: The South Stand

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

The Hong Kong Sevens is considered the world's best rugby sevens tournament, but it is much more than that.

For three days every March, as the best teams in the world compete to conquer one of rugby's most coveted trophies, a boisterous crowd in costumes goes totally wild in their support. This is particularly true at the infamous South Stand, a sold-out party where rugby marries carnival. Hong Kong's craziest annual event.

Don't be fooled by people in their costumes peacefully drinking their beers (guys) or Pimm's (gals) on Friday, at the beginning of the tournament. By Saturday morning those beers and Pimm's will be flying around, the boldest (drunkest) fans will try to jump naked to the pitch and the whole South Stand will be on fire, a boiling pot ready to explode in a thousand colors.

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter".

More photos of the Hong Kong Sevens in my website.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Monday, June 04, 2012

"Colors are the deeds ...

... and sufferings of light"  -  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

“My understanding – of course, I’m not a philosopher or a scientist – of an aspect of Goethe’s theory of color is that he felt that color came out of tension between light and dark. I think that is very appropriate when you think about the kind of color that I shoot.” – Alex Webb

Thursday, March 08, 2012


I was recently in Palau shooting an assignment for International Inspiration, a legacy program created by the Olympic Games London 2012.  One of my photos will be used in an exhibition at the Museum of London during the upcoming games, and this is probably as close as I will ever get to fulfilling one of my childhood wildest dreams, participating in the Olympics. But that is another story.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Beautiful Palau is one of the smallest and youngest countries in the world. Its people are laid back, relaxed and friendly. The kind of place where strangers greet you on the street (happens to me also in New Zealand). The name Palauans gave their national congress, "the house of whispers", is also very telling about their character.

Palau is, above all, about island life. One of the world's top diving destinations, formed by some 300 islands. On my first day I had to go to work on a speed boat, trapped between a emerald sea and a blue sky. Beats catching a cab or a bus any time.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"I didn't want to be a woman photographer ...

... That would limit me. I wanted to be a photographer who was a woman." - Eve Arnold

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

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Chinese New Year in Binondo, Manila, the oldest Chinatown in the world.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

¨The best pictures last because they sing ...

... and some people will remember them as they remember songs. Maybe that´s a stretch. But I believe it; it works for me to think that way¨. - William Albert Allard

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wellington, the cool

My coldest Winter was a Summer in San Francisco, said Mark Twain, and that could probably apply to Wellington too.

Like San Francisco, New Zealand's capital is a very cool city in every sense of the word cool. Cool because of the chilly gushes of wind from the Cook Strait, cool because of its overall vibe. Modern and dynamic but laid-back, with good museums and culture, fun bars and cafes, good restaurants. Friendly people, everyone seems to be into one sport or another. All of this by a very beautiful landscape, water ever-present.

While traveling for my project on rugby in New Zealand, I got a call from one of the photo editors at M, the weekly magazine of Le Monde. "Can you fly to Wellington and shoot something for us?"

Why, of course ...

Some photo assignments are more fun than others, and this one fell in the camp of the really fun ones. M has a section where a local who knows a city well, writer Eleanor Catton in this case, picks her five favourite spots. My job was to take photos of those places: a theater, a pizzeria, a bar, a pie shop, and a trendy street.

Camera in one hand, pizza, mince pie, flat white or beer in the other. Fun.

Eleanor Catton takes us to Wellington, Le Monde's on-line slide show.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Final - All Blacks vs France

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Congratulations to the All Blacks for becoming the World Champions, 24 years later, and to France for putting a good fight. After my previous comment, which came out a bit harsh on the French, this time I have to give them credit for falling with honor. In front they had the best team in the world.

More photos of rugby in New Zealand in my website.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Semifinals

This past week-end, semifinals at Eden Park.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

 Next Sunday France and New Zealand, the All Blacks, will play the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. One of these two teams represents the greatness, the passion, the honor, the respect for the shirt one wears and for the legacy it carries, the love of rugby. The other one (at least in its current incarnation) represents the mediocrity, the lack of respect for the public and for its own colors, the search of the result no matter what. Two very different ways of seeing and living the most beautiful sport there is. Unless the Gods of rugby decide to play a big, cruel joke on rugby fans worldwide, we already have our Champion. Let's just hope the final result is a crushing victory for one, a humiliating defeat for the other. A lesson for decades to come.

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - quarter finals

Some photos from last week-end, during the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup 2011. Auckland is oozing rugby ...

© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved
© nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

It will only get better this week-end, with the semifinals.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

New Zealand's passion for rugby

My work on rugby in New Zealand was featured this week-end in the BBC website.

You can read the whole story here.

I am now back in Auckland to continue this project during the knock-out phase of the Rugby World Cup. Will post some new photos soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Kia Rite! Kia Rite! Prepare yourself!

  New Plymouth Boys High School, Taranaki                                                                    © nacho hernandez, all rights reserved

The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand is about to start.  Rugby (or any other sport) does not get better than this.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Rugby in New Zealand

The Guardian - Weekend Magazine

The Guardian, in its Weekend Magazine, published this past Saturday one of the photos from my project  on rugby in New Zealand.

Very timely, as the Rugby World Cup starts in New Zealand in two days.