GUADIX LADY is a photograph that I think will always be a favourite.
I saw this woman sitting in her little courtyard outside her home as I walked through the back streets of the town of Guadix, in the south-east of Spain — a town known for its troglodyte community of people whose homes are dug into the ground. This lady had one such home.
It was merely a snapshot, made very quickly. I pointed to my camera (an old 35mm Olympus OM-1, loaded with FP4 film) as a way of asking her permission to photograph her. She nodded at me and I made the picture.
It wasn’t until some months later, looking through the negatives, that I realised I had a strong portrait of this lady. I love the way she looks unflinchingly into the camera lens, and I love the way she completely ‘owns’ her space. She is grounded, unintimidated by me or the camera, and she projects a certain dignity that is very strong in this portrait. I like the way the enamel bowl next to her hints at the domestic environment in which the photo was taken. It almost looks like it was set up this way, with the bowl and chair carefully positioned for the photograph, yet that was not so — the photograph was just as I saw her as I walked along her street.