Crowds for Jairo Varela
Yesterday, when I walked to the MIO (bus) station to take the bus south and meet friends for homemade flan, I saw huge crowds in the street. I asked someone what was going on. He told me that people were waiting for the hearse carrying Jairo Varela, the founder and director of the Cali salsa group, Grupo Niche, as it carried him to his final resting place. All up and down Calle 5, huge crowds of people waitied to pay their respects and say goodbye to the popular salsa star and composer of the famous song, Cali Pachanguero. I walked around until I had a good spot for photos. This photo was taken in my barrio with the overpass in the background, where I walk to go to my gym and favorite restaurant. I was ready to turn around and photograph the hearse coming through the crowd with people touching it. I waited almost an hour and was late to meet with my friends, so I finally had to leave. I missed the photo I wanted. I didn’t have a newspaper to shoot for, only myself. I gave up and got on the bus and went to meet my 7 Colombian friends for homemade vanilla flan with arequipe syrup. It was really good! We had a good evening, visiting in one of the friends’ 10th floor apartment. From the balcony, there were beautiful views in all directions. Today, I bought the El País newspaper and there on the front page was the photo that I had pre-visualized and would have got. They ran the photo large at the top of the page. After working as a newspaper photojournalist for about 30 years, my instincts for the best photo are still there. The difference is that I am photographing for myself and my friends now. And, I’m not getting paid for it. But, I still love it.