Interview with 2017 Winner, Luis Tato
Luis Tato’s epic photograph, “A Spanish Festival of Fire and Horses” won an unprecedented three categories: Cultural, People’s choice and Overall Winner. This compelling image, alight with vibrant orange and red hues captured the magic of the unique Spanish festival and won the hearts of the judges and guest voters.
Marta Fabiani, our Social Media Manager discovered Luis’ incredible portfolio on Instagram and informed him about the upcoming competition. He flew in from Barcelona to attend the awards and we were lucky enough to catch up with him afterwards.
The first thing we wanted to know was where Luis got the inspiration for his winning picture. He told us: “Spain is a very interesting place with a rich, traditional history. You can find hundreds of weird traditional festivals and rituals all over the country, especially in rural areas. As a Spaniard, I have a deep connection with that reality."
“I turned to look at one of the photographers by my side and I noticed that his hair was on fire!”
Getting the perfect shot, however, was no easy feat. “The night I shot “Spanish Festival of Fire and Horses” there were people everywhere. I turned to look at one of the photographers by my side and I noticed that his hair was on fire! I quickly warned him and helped him to extinguish the “problem”. Fortunately, we put out the little fire without any major consequences!"
“You have to be prepared for hard work. Photography is not a 9-5 job.”
Luis went into detail about his love for photography. “I was actually studying Graphic Design and Audio-Visual Communication when I received a cheap camera as a gift. I started to explore the possibilities of photography and teaching myself. After my studies, I took an amazing journey to South Asia and the images I shot here were eventually published. They also helped me to win a prestigious Spanish grant for emergent photographers, so it was very much the start of my professional career.
I’ve always had a strong visual education and I grew up surrounded canvases and oil paintings. My father is an amazing amateur painter and my brother is a professional one. Growing up in that environment gave me a good eye for composing and finding good images.
“Cristina García-Rodero and Cristiobal Hara are two great Spanish photographers who have been a great inspiration to me.”
Luis also won the Behind the Scenes award with his photograph “Pageant Miss Trans Star International” He explained how he manages not to disturb the image he is trying to capture. “I am an observer. That’s my work. I am a very quiet, introverted, shy person naturally and this is a part of my personality which helps me as a professional.”
He was keen to offer advice for any budding photographers looking to get into the field of Event Photography. “You have to be prepared for hard work. Photography is not a 9-5 job, but a lifestyle. Improve your skills as much as you can, which means shooting every day even if you don’t have the camera with you. Remember that you can always shoot with your mind! You also need to take care of your clients. Don’t sell yourself short and most importantly, be kind, respectful and gentle with the subjects of your pictures.”
Luis was very happy to receive Overall Winner at this years’ Event Photography Awards.
“This win is very important to me because it recognises all the hard work I did last year and encourages me to keep working hard. I am very happy to receive this award and I would like to encourage the EPAs to keep it up. Also, I want to congratulate all the talented photographers who have been shortlisted for taking some amazing photos.