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I started this project when there was a local Charreria  tournament in Tepic, México, At “El Dorado” rodeo centre.

The Charreria is Mexico’s only national sport. It is said that to be a good Charro, you have to learn how to ride a horse before you can even walk. This photo series explores behind the scenes of the festival. For the riders, the Charreria is a way of life not just a sport. It is an all-consuming passion to be the best of the nation, requiring a lifetime of practise. Many Charro riders are children and have no education- to them, the Charreria is a way out of the misery. Success can make them superstars.

When I started the project, I had a completely different project in mind, I mainly wanted to take portraits of the Charros and their horses. However, after seeing behind the scenes and the pretournament excitement I decided to shift my focus to that.

On the first day I had only my 50mm lens and my phone. After realizing that I needed a wider lens, I decided to take photos with my iPhone. Reviewing my images that night, I fell in love with my mobile photography and on the next day I took 90 percent of the images with my iPhone.

The tournament lasted 4 days and after comparing my ‘traditional’ camera and my phone camera, I decided to use only the images I took with my Phone. This is the result. 

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

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Image detail: Gary Ramage