Forcados Amadores das Caldas da Rainha

Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

This photo represents the moments right after first bullfight, where a mixture of adrenaline and relief (of having made it alive) is lived. My aim is not to focus on the controversiality side of bullfighting (even though the personal is always political), but on the strong emotional bonds between these men.

The hierarchical structure of the group is extremely rigid, as they believe the corporal speaks in their name, agreeing to a “voluntary dictatorship”. There is a homo-erotic component to these “blood brothers”, as before the race they all help each other dress. In the space portrayed in the photo, just outside the arena, it is where they share intimate conversations, revealing their fears and vulnerabilities to each other. 

I was documenting the bullfighters of the Caldas da Rainha in Portugal during their 2018 season. In this series I didnt want to focus on the political side of bullfighting, even though the personal is always political.

I wanted to focus on the behind the scenes moments of preparation of the bullfights, as well as the moments right after. What struck me was the very strong emotional bonds between these boys, aged from 18?-30?

v strong emotional bonds which bond them together. the respect they have for each other and the hierarcy of the group struck me

the rest is espetaculo


Fardamenta- dressing

not only do they help each other dress but the old members of the group too. For friendship and the bonds

the jaquetas pass from one to another and when it time to change head of group they symbolically change jaquetas.

Symbolic act of passing the jacket from one corporal (explain) retires.


leaving the house

the moments right before the praca

the anxiety of the moments before

Zé has an extraordinary story in 2016, he was going to propose to his girlfriend, so he toasted (dedicated) his performance (bullfight) however he got injured and proposed in the interval. it was a near death situation minute 5.00

he proposed to his girlfriend at the time. brinde ( maybe he was gonna propose)

in the interval of the bullfight

Francisco Mascarenhas, the corporal of the group, hierarchy as if in the military, respect and he represents the group,

It made an impression on me that one of the bullfighters…. interviewed and the corporal would speak for them.

“ voluntary dictatorship”, but in terms of respect of feelings,

Duarte Palha, is the poet of the group, the most liberal, as he’s poet, free spirit

works in politics,

the intimacy, the friendship. the conversation could be asking for advice, could be commenting on a past or future pega

after the race

he is the head of the group, it a very hierarchial structure, in this race he went back again to show the younger ones

bravery and fear and most times it is the fear which drives them forward

vegan ticao


this was the last time Mario Cardeira put on his uniform, he prayed before entering, after having been in the group for … years

bandarilheiros "assistant bullfighters”

a few seconds before

The group is catholic ”The above principles are inspired by a Christian vision of man and the world”. they bless themselves antes,

v intense

incerteza of what bull will approach, if it will be complicated

the cabo feels the responsability and feels responsible for them

during or aftermath?


after the race

greeting family,lovers, the local population

por ftg duarte

the relief afterwards, rewarding moments after if the race was bad then they’ll find reward, but always relieving nevertheless.