I like to shoot stories that focus on humans, regardless of the subject. I´ve covered hunger, political violence and other natural and man-made tragedies.
My first memory of photography? My sister gave me a picture of her a few years ago, saying that I took it when I was three years old. It was at a beach in northern Spain where my family has gone for years. It´s poorly framed and out of focus. You can only guess it´s a girl in a red bathing suit at the beach. It seems that I just picked up my parents’ camera and snapped the photo. I’d be lieing if I said I remembered.
I learnt to photograph by trial and error. My uncle Javier is also a photojournalist, so one day I asked him to teach me. He came home with a couple of rolls of black-and-white film and said: “There you have the camera, here you have the film. Go out on the street and shoot.”
I always liked to write and tell stories. In college studying journalism, I had the chance to take photos for a local newspaper. I barely knew how to develop film or frame a shot. I liked it, so I decided to move into photography. So I started, step by step. First, aspiring to work for local newspapers. Then I realised that I wanted to document issues further from home.
My first assignments were as an intern for a local paper in my hometown of Leon. I drove all over the local area and worked just as much as the staffers. It was an incredible lesson that confirmed my wish to become a photojournalist - also to discover the human side of photography, far from press conferences.
Haiti’s cholera outbreak in 2010 left a big mark on me. It was the worst assignment I had ever covered, dealing with death everyday. There is one image I’ll always remember of a man carrying his 2-year-old son from a motorbike to a hospital. A Cuban doctor met them about 50 meters outside the entrance. The boy was already dead but still warm. I went back months later to retrace their steps. That father carried his son for two hours downhill on that bike on a really difficult dirt track.
Telling the stories of people in situations of crisis or conflict motivates me. In recent years most of my work has been in that environment.
Photojournalism gives a window on the world and allows people not just to look, but to think and understand. Photos are a universal language. They can touch people regardless of their background or where they live.