Painters and photographers roam the streets

Last Sunday was sunny, as we expect in southern Spain at this time of year. In Mijas Pueblo, close to Malaga City, it was time for the 8th annual photography and painting marathon – a day long cultural event. Mijas Pueblo is a typical white-washed Spanish village but there is a strong multi-national feel to the place. You walk down cobbled Spanish streets but in terms of the people you pass, its like walking through Europe – Norwegians, Danish, Irish, German, British and more – not to mention the Japanese who come everyday in their ‘busloads’ to explore Mijas Pueblo.

The marathon event (which fortunately doesn’t involve any running) is organised by the town hall as part of their programme of cultural events. Its a great social event cleverly combined with a creative challenge. Photographers wander the streets looking for inspiration. Painters choose their spots, set up their easels and paint their pictures. A TV camera man and reporter were on hand to film the day. I was unlucky/lucky to be singled out to be interviewed which felt quite strange – my first TV interview for over 10 years – it felt like I was having a flashback to my working days but in tee shirt and shorts rather than suit and tie.

The ‘marathon’ works differently for painters and photographers. The painters are given a blank canvas at 10am and they have the day to produce a painting to hand in for judging. Photographers are given a list of six themes for the photographs and have three days to process and submit their entries – a maximum of two per theme although you don’t have to cover each theme. The photography themes this year were:

  • Black and white (tema libre en blanco y negro)
  • Lines and curves (lineas y curvas)
  • The sea (el mar)
  • Tapas hour (la hora del tapeo)
  • Textures (texturas)
  • The colour black (color negro)

A judging panel reviews the photography submissions (last year there were 2,000) and whittles them down to 150. A slide show is produced to showcase the 150 photographs selected at the first cut (last year’s slideshow can be viewed through this YouTube link) and from those 150, thirty are chosen to be printed and displayed in the town hall. Four winners receive a 200 euro prize.

The day seemed to be a success although I only submitted two photos in the end – one for ‘the Tapas hour’ and the other for ‘Lines and curves’. It was also an opportunity for the Mijas Photography Group to get together over coffee and lunch. Overall a great day, just got to wait to see whether either of my entries at least make the ‘150’. I would certainly recommend people to take part in next year’s event (1st Sunday in June).


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