Saturday, June 20, 2009
Fight night returns
After a one-year hiatus the Portuguese bloodless bullfights returned to the small ring in downtown Tracy. Whether the absence was due to the economy or concerns over animal cruelty the event made a return to the cheer of the crowds.
For those who have never been to this event it is like stepping into another country for a night. Filled with sounds and sights of traditions from long ago the ring becomes a arena from a cross the oceans as men test their bravery and faith before the bull.
I understand the dislike of many to the idea of a bullfight whether bloodless or not but it is part of a culture many strive to keep alive. I am half Portuguese and most of what I saw is foreign to me. I never delved that deep into my heritage but it does stir a sense of pride that we keep some things alive from one family to the next, one generation to the next.
As a photojournalist the bullfight is interesting to say the least to cover. Even thought it is a small ring the bull can move fast, the light is dim and the action is fast paced when it happens. It makes for a challenge to get a nice picture form the event. One of the things I try to do when shooting sports is capture moments or sights that might slip by the crowd. In the fight I try to capture the intensity of the bull's charge, the flowing motion of the capes and the rich colors of the clothing and pageantry.
I am the bullfights returned this year. Good action, festive sights and the glimpse of a culture not usually scene. It would have have been a shame to see such a long standing tradition slip silently into the shadows.