Andalusia (Hearth Magazine)

Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Projects | 56 Comments
Andalusia (Hearth Magazine)

Andalusia is located in the south of Spain, east of the Atlantic Ocean and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. Being at the very southern tip of Europe and only an hour away from Africa, Andalusia has a very interesting mix of European, African and Arabian influences. You see traditional Spanish architecture next to Oriental flavors the closer you get to Tarifa, which is the port city that connects Europe with Tangier in Morocco.

I’ve visited many European countries before, but this was my first trip to Spain. I think it was one of the most interesting photographically. Within a relatively short distance you can experience the coast and watch fishermen bring in their catch of the day, while vast mountain ranges and beautiful, tucked away white villages are just twenty minutes down the road.

For me, this was also one of the most challenging places to photograph. I love to tell stories with my pictures and I try to be as authentic as possible with my imagery. I don’t think I’ve ever visited a place in Europe before where I saw so much poverty next to decadence and so much beauty next to despair.

My wife Rebecca and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on this trip, which made this an unforgettable experience. You can find her beautiful images here. We shot in Andalusia together for Hearth Magazine, who will feature a selection of these images in one of their upcoming volumes.

A selection of prints from this series is available for purchase at Aspen Gallery. All color images below were taken with the Hasselblad 503CW and the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 on Kodak Portra 400, all B&W images were shot with the Leica M2 and the Nokton 50mm 1.5 ASPH VM on Kodak Tri-X 400. All images scanned and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California:





































  1. Rebecca Lily
    20. July 2014

    Dare I say it? These are the best pictures you’ve taken yet. :)

    I absolutely love them. The wonderful colors and fresh whites, the picturesque little scenes, how you saw the light in each one – from bright-mid day sun to that last glow over the mountains. You have such a wonderful way with that. I love the two diptychs, one with the harbor scenes and one with the clothes hanging out and the cafe. And I can’t believe how beautiful your shot of the Andalusian town turned out (#10). It’s stunning. But all of these are just tremendous.

    I’m so very proud of you and of your work.

    P.S. I’ll never forget you chasing those pigs around with your Hasselblad. :)

  2. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Rebecca, thank you so much! :)

    I couldn’t be happier to hear that you like these images so much. I am really so excited to finally share these. Thank you for the amazing trip and the wonderful memories made, I will never forget this experience.

    I think what I liked best about the whole trip was to see you being so happy with your M9. Despite chasing pigs around of course. ;)

    I’m so glad that our images will be published together. Thank you.

  3. MJ
    20. July 2014

    Awesome photography.

    I’m curious if you do any additional post-processing (other than cropping) to the photos after receiving them from RPL? Just curious as the skies seem to darken nicely towards the edge of the frame. Not sure what your philosophy would be in that regard… RPL scans left as-is or enhanced with your own finishing tweaks. If it’s the former, then I may need to start writing your name in the Color PAC section!

    Well done – very inspirational.

  4. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Thank you for your kind feedback, MJ. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed this post and find it inspirational.

    I don’t apply any additional post processing to any of my film work, the results above are exactly how RPL delivered them. My Color PAC doesn’t include any color tweaks, only my scanning preferences. The effect you see in some of the pictures is caused by the natural vignetting of the lens. I also try to avoid having to crop.

    Please feel free to use my Color PAC for your own work. :)

  5. Joey
    20. July 2014

    “P.S. I’ll never forget you chasing those pigs around with your Hasselblad. :)”

    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at this image in my head!

    These are beautiful images, Johnny. I’ve only been to Spain once (Barcelona) and it was one of my favorite places, I can’t wait to go back. My fiancée and I have been considering southern Spain for our honeymoon, and these images – along with Rebecca’s – only further my desire to visit. I’m sure when I share them with my fiancée she’ll be thinking the same thing.

    Thanks for posting these, and I look forward to seeing some of them in print in Hearth Magazine (it will be the first issue I purchase). :)

  6. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Haha, thank you Joey! :)

    The scene with the pigs was really hilarious. They were extremely skittish, very curious and freaked out at the same time. I spend about 20 minutes in front of a fence trying to photography them. Every time I had a good angle they would follow me around and come too close – just to run off scared again the second I moved.

    I really liked shooting in Spain a lot and it’s a beautiful place. But please take into account what I wrote in my post if you are planning your honeymoon there, it’s an area of great contrasts.

  7. Cody Priebe
    20. July 2014

    Good work! I love the grouping and the framing especially. All are beautiful.

    Gorgeous whites.

  8. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Thank you very much, Cody! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed these pictures.

  9. Gil
    20. July 2014

    Beautiful images of Andalucía!! Great work.

  10. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Gil, thank you so much! I appreciate your feedback. :)

  11. Wim
    20. July 2014

    Johnny, I am happy you enjoyed Spain as much I love it!

    You made some outstanding photographs and I love your point of view more and more. You are on the right path my friend and I always get so much inspiration out of your work. Keep going!!

  12. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Wim.

    I know how much you like Spain and how much time you’ve spent photographing there. I love the pictures you shared and you are right, it’s really a beautiful country. Thank you again for your kind words!

  13. Elaine
    20. July 2014

    A beautiful series. I could lose myself for many minutes in the tranquility of the last photo. And then happily go back to the beginning and view every photograph again. Thank you for adding grace and beauty and light to my Sunday morning.

  14. Johnny
    20. July 2014

    Elaine, thank you for your kind feedback.

    I’m very happy you enjoyed these pictures so much. Andalusia was incredible and it’s really worth a visit!

  15. Robert-Paul
    20. July 2014

    I agree with Rebecca, these are tremendous and the best I have seen so far.

    I love the colour photos, they really pop, the B&Ws are great to see in between. I’ve never been to Spain, I’m more of a France-guy so I always end up there… but these photos really made me see Spain is definately a great alternative for ‘La vie en Rose’. Thanks for sharing these.

  16. Johnny
    21. July 2014

    Thank you so very much, Robert-Paul. I really appreciate it.

    We’ve never visited before either and it’s really a great travel destination to consider. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much variety in one single place.

  17. Ray
    21. July 2014

    Absolutely blown away with the gorgeous images here Johnny. The tones are breathtaking – wow. You’ve done an amazing job documenting this journey through a visual smorgasbord of amazing art. I feel like I am there with you (damn, next time)!

    This is really rich in so many ways. You really make me want to travel!

  18. Johnny
    22. July 2014

    Ray, thank you very much!

    I’m so happy to hear that you like the images and that you feel inspired to travel. Maybe meeting up in London will work out next year – I’m sure you would love to photograph in Europe. :)

  19. Giovanni
    23. July 2014

    I think these are, no doubt, the most beautiful “real” pics I’ve ever seen.

    My hat’s off to you!

  20. Johnny
    23. July 2014

    Thank you so much, Giovanni!

    I appreciate your kind feedback and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed these images so much.

  21. Jim
    24. July 2014

    I am wondering if you use a tripod at all. Especially on those first shots at the beach. I can never get images that clear. Inspiring as always.

  22. Johnny
    24. July 2014

    Thank you very much, Jim.

    I don’t own a tripod, I shoot everything handheld. I think down to 1/60 is ok, everything below that gets a bit tricky with the Hasselblad.

  23. Mary Smyth
    25. July 2014

    Spectacular work. I agree with Rebecca, this has to be your best!

  24. Johnny
    25. July 2014

    Thank you very much, Mary! I really appreciate your kind words.

  25. Urban Hafner
    25. July 2014

    Beautiful images again, Johnny!

    Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot images in such blazing sun over the next few years on various Greek islands. My wife is Greek and the kids will soon be big enough to go on various trips to the islands (or stay with the grandparents :D).

  26. Johnny
    26. July 2014

    Urban, thank you so much.

    That sounds like a great plan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that. Rebecca and I are hoping to shoot in Greece some time this year too and I cannot wait to visit there. :)

  27. Robert
    1. August 2014

    Johnny, lovely to see you latest work, and as always I am in absolute awe of your ability to stay true to your style and vision.

    Your ability to take only a small section of what you have in front of you, and create a beautifully still and balanced image is something I see and enjoy in all your images.

    The delicate balance of warm and cool tones you somehow manage to hold on to in these climates (Italy and Spain) is also superb.

    As always I look forward to your next post.


  28. Johnny
    2. August 2014

    Thank you for your time and your kind feedback, Robert. That’s really such a nice compliment, I appreciate it very much.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed these pictures. To shoot in Andalusia was a dream and I feel very lucky to have been able to experience that.

  29. Fabiela
    7. August 2014

    These are absolutely stunning, Johnny! Your best work so far in my opinion. The light is incredible on the white buildings, wow!

    I would have loved to see you chasing the wild boars with your Hassie! Did Rebecca film it??

    I look forward to viewing more of your future travels. :)

  30. Johnny
    8. August 2014

    Jann, thanks so much!

    I’m happy you like these pictures, the light in Andalusia was seriously stunning.

    I don’t think these pigs were wild boars, otherwise they would probably have chased me and not the other way round. But they were really a lot of fun to photograph. :)

  31. Carmen
    15. August 2014

    Wow, gorgeous images!! In love with the tones and the lighting! :)

  32. Johnny
    15. August 2014

    Thank you, Carmen! I appreciate your kind feedback. :)

  33. oVan
    16. August 2014

    Seeing these wonderful images, and the lovely way they’ve been laid out on this page, makes me want to travel right away. A few months ago I didn’t even contemplate returning to film, but the results you (and fellow photographers) achieve won me over. You’re a big inspiration, thanks!

  34. Johnny
    16. August 2014

    Olivier, thank you so much for your kind words.

    That’s so great to hear. I’m very happy for you about your Hasselblad purchase and I’m sure you’ll love shooting film with it too!

  35. Greg
    4. September 2014

    I have a Yashica Mat 124 G medium format camera, 80mm f3.5 lens. I’m about to load it with Kodak Portra 400 120 film.

    How would you recommend I expose the film. Should I set the camera ISO to 200 and expose/meter for the shadows? Treat it the same as you treat the Hasselblad?

    What are your thoughts? Any experience with this camera?


  36. Johnny
    5. September 2014

    Greg, thank you for your question.

    I don’t have experience with the Yashica Mat 124 G, but you can shoot all film cameras the same way. Have a look here if you are interested to read more about metering for film.

    Thanks again for your feedback!

  37. Andrew
    29. September 2014

    Johnny, what beautiful photos you’ve taken! You have inspired me to keep traveling and seeing the world – great job man!

  38. Johnny
    29. September 2014

    Thank you, Andrew! I really appreciate your feedback. :)

  39. Jenni Kupelian
    30. September 2014

    I really appreciate your mention of decadence and the difficult images of poverty contrasting with it. I shoot in Uganda every couple years, and am heading back soon. It is always difficult to do my job while still honoring the experience of those who live in such difficult circumstances. These photos are truly beautiful, so much peace in them. Thank you for sharing as always!

  40. Johnny
    1. October 2014

    Jenni, thank you very much for your kind feedback.

    I can only imagine what you must have seen in Uganda, as all the destinations I’ve photographed so far must feel safe and wealthy in comparison. I agree with you, photographing such strong contrasts and staying authentic in your imaginary isn’t easy.

    Thank you for your time.

  41. Armando
    30. March 2015

    Hi Johnny,

    Such beautiful photos! I came across your site after searching for peoples experience metering Portra 400. I am fairly new to film and I really enjoyed your write-up on metering. I think I understand the purpose of overexposing the film, but the part that I am still a little confused about is where you discuss shielding the light meter to expose for the shadows? I am planning a trip to Portugal this summer and expect to photograph very similar scenes. I was wondering if you could pick out a few photos form those you took in Spain and explain how you metered each of them? I think this would help me understand the process before clicking the shutter. Also, where I would be able to trust my Leica M6 light meter for close up subjects, how do you meter for subjects or scenes that are at a distance?

    Thanks again, and I am really glad I came across your website. You and your wife have captured such beautiful photos that have both inspired me and got me excited for my trip this summer.



  42. Johnny
    31. March 2015

    Thanks very much for your kind feedback, Armando.

    I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this post! Please have a look here, I’m sure this will help you in regards to metering.

    Enjoy your trip! :)

  43. James
    21. May 2015

    I love these – they’ve inspired me to visit Andalusia and start using film again. So I’m holding you personally responsible for the health of my bank account!

  44. Johnny
    21. May 2015

    James, thanks so much! That’s really wonderful to hear. I’m sure you’ll love both, visiting Andalusia and shooting film again.

  45. Mica
    24. July 2015

    Absolutely stunning shots! Were these taken in Tarifa or all the way at Gibraltar? I’m in love with those white villages. Can’t wait to visit.

    Keep it up – you’re such an inspiration!

  46. Johnny
    25. July 2015

    Thank you very much, Mica! That’s so kind of you.

    Most of the images were shot between Estepona, Tarifa and Ubrique. Andalusia is really such a beautiful area!

  47. Iker
    11. September 2015

    Really love these shots.

    Your photos translate fine art perfectly. Unlike most of the photos that I’ve ever seen elsewhere. I can tell the silent and peaceful mood in these photos. It is really a pleasure enjoying your work in a peaceful Friday night, makes me want to book a flight to Spain immediately. Thank you!

  48. Johnny
    11. September 2015

    Iker, thanks for your kind feedback. I appreciate it very much. :)

  49. Scott Turner
    23. March 2016

    Man. These shots are nothing short of inspiring. Agree with Rebecca, definitely your best work IMO. Itching to get back into film after seeing these!

  50. Johnny
    23. March 2016

    Thank you very much for your kind words, Scott. Makes me so happy to hear that. Just give it a try, I’m sure you would love shooting film just as much as I do.

  51. Steffen
    9. July 2016

    Great photos, Johnny. You have a way with framing and capturing the feel of a place that I can’t really explain – in a good way!

    Andalusia is my favourite part of Spain. Especially the countryside nearby to Rhonda.

    One question if I may – I’ve always struggled with the DOF shooting 6×6. I know you shoot wide open – are you using the hyperfocal distance to focus, or are you making sure your subject is a certain distance to maximise overall frame sharpness?

  52. Johnny
    10. July 2016

    Steffen, thanks very much for your comment and your question. I love Spain too, I hope I can travel there again at some point in the future. :)

    You’re right, I always shoot wide open. I find the DOF transition with the 80mm f2.8 very natural, but it depends on the scene how I shoot it. For landscapes I usually focus at infinity and frame accordingly. For anything mid-distance I try to make sure the subject is in the foreground. For close-ups I don’t mind background blur, I love the intimacy. But I try to not overdo it with blur in my pictures, I don’t think that looks very good in print.

  53. Ruslan
    10. September 2016

    Hi Johnny! Awesome photography!

    It’s very hot in Spain, how many days do you keep a film in your camera that you didn’t expose?

  54. Johnny
    12. September 2016

    Thanks for your kind feedback and your question, Ruslan.

    I tend to finish the rolls in my camera each day if possible. That doesn’t always work out, but I try not to leave unexposed film in my camera for more than 2-3 days.

  55. Fatih
    21. June 2017

    I know how harsh the light is in Mediterranean and the way you coped with that is inspiring.

  56. Johnny
    23. June 2017

    Fatih, thank you so much for your kind words.

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