Pablo S. Quiza: Blog en-us (C) Pablo Sanchez Quiza (Pablo S. Quiza) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT Pablo S. Quiza: Blog 120 65 Moving on - Farewell letter  
April 1st was supposed to be my last day at Reuters, the day I logged off for the last time. And no, it wasn't supposed to be a prank. April 1, 2015 will be the day that marks 18 years since I shot my first pictures for Reuters, a train wreck that killed 24 people near my hometown. Not a very pleasant baptism but surely an unforgettable one!

For ten years I battled the stringer life in the northeastern corner of the Iberian peninsula known as Basque Country. Got injured a few times covering riots, threatened several times, had a bull crash into me during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, all kind of guns pointing at me and even an offer from the Spanish secret services to provide them with information, HA! I wouldn't say they were easy times but if I had the chance to repeat every single minute of it I would say yes, again and again, without hesitation!

In 2007 I jumped to the other side of photojournalism and joined to the Global Picture Desk in Singapore, quite a tricky change that turned out very pleasant. Being trusted by the best photographers in the industry was the energy that kept me going to work with a smile on my face. That and the amazing group of dedicated editors, always keen to know more and better.

There is no need to say that none of this would have been possible without the intervention of some incredible people that I had the pleasure of meeting along the way.

Desmond Boylan, none of this would have been possible without the huge amount of trust you put in me all these years. You were not just the best and wildest mentor one can dream of; you are the kindest person I've known, the best teacher, and a true friend. You know you became part of my close family long time ago, my eldest brother from a different mother.

Pedja Kujundzic, your patience and incredible mentoring in my transition to the desk saved me from losing my mind. There is no money that can pay for your lessons, both vital and professional.

Amanda Andersen, you taught me how important it is to be a trusted and reliable picture editor, a friend on the other side taking care of my pictures as if they were your own. Sending my pictures to the London desk when you were still there was bliss, and all those years in Singapore I tried very hard to echo your lessons. I failed miserably at emulating your sweet voice though..

To all the editors in the Singapore desk who had to suffer years of rants, constant cursing and sometimes bad temper; thanks for the great friendship, the late dinners, the laughter and the good times. You are now my extended family and you won’t get rid of me easily! I will only be three hours away from you!

Obviously the list of amazing people I got the chance to meet in those 18 years goes on and on. You all know who you are but if I had to mention each of you, this mail would need to be delivered in installments and I won’t have access to my Reuters email account for that long…From the deepest corner of my heart (this sounds too posh, right? Oh well...) I thank you all for all the great memories, experiences, lessons and most importantly, the friendship!

So yes, what now? Three hours away from Singapore?

Yes, my next chapter will take me to the tiny island of Malapascua, off the coast of Cebu, in the Philippines. I’m joining two local friends there and will be running a dive resort with them, eventually will become a dive instructor and in the process get a proper sun tan. Can’t promise a huge discount but you all know you will be more than welcome. You will find a friend in Divelink Cebu, Malapascua.

But hey! I’m only leaving the company, not family and friends, so let’s please keep in touch!


Good night and good luck!

Pablo Sanchez Quiza
Former Editor in Charge
Reuters Global Pictures Desk
Thomson Reuters
M +65 9731 2135 | T +65 6870 3775
P Before printing, think about the environment
]]> (Pablo S. Quiza) Basque Country Reuters Singapore desk editor farewell global goodbye photographer photography pictures Mon, 23 Mar 2015 01:41:00 GMT
Cook the Hunt -- A blog published in in 2008 Cook the Hunt

The recent general elections in Spain were held in the wake of an ex-socialist councillor shot dead in the Basque Country in a place near my hometown. I was working on the afternoon shift when I saw the first alert of the assassination appear on our text service. I almost jumped out my chair. Somehow my internal alarm bell still goes off instinctively whenever something happens in the area where I used to work. It was only after a couple of seconds that I realized I’m 12,000 kilometers from where the assassination took place, and I couldn’t just grab a camera and go. There wasn’t much I could do, except get in touch with the photographer in the Basque Country, make sure he was aware of the breaking news, and then prepare for his pictures to land on the desk.
Above: Basque police collect evidence outside the house of a former socialist councillor after an attack in Mondragon, northern Spain, March 7, 2008.  Photograph by 
Vincent West

Above: People stand during a silent protest in Burgos, northern Spain March 7, 2008, against the murder of Isaias Carrasco. Photograph by Felix Ordonez

Above: Spanish vice president Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega (R) and Spanish Socialist Party spokesman Jose Blanco (C) walk in front of the coffin of Isaias Carrasco carried by Basque Socialist Party general secretary Patxi Lopez (back L) and Basque socialist’s president Jesus Egiguren, during a funeral in Mondragon, northern Spain, March 8, 2008. Photograph by: Vincent West

The political fallout of the murder clearly made for an intense election weekend in Spain. The picture desk received and sent a constant stream of photographs –  including presidential candidates, polling stations, street reactions, the winners, the losers and a funeral.  The pictures flowed quickly into the desk,  and by the time the last pictures arrived we were up against most deadlines . I was inevitably assigned to handle the file. I guess there was no surprise there, because as I am being familiar with the region, it’s facts and politics, people and names,  it made editing faster and smoother — and that is what our business is all about.


Above: A father and daughter prepare a ballot at an Oviedo polling station during Spain’s general elections March 9, 2008.  Photograph by Eloy Alonso


Above: A Catholic nun looks for her Senate ballot at a polling station in Aravaca, outside Madrid, during Spain’s parliamentary election March 9, 2008. Photograph Susana Vera
Above: Muslim women cast their votes at a Ceuta polling station during Spain’s general elections March 9, 2008.  Photograph by Rafael Marchante

The job of getting the Spanish election pictures out to the wire worked in perfect coordination between myself and the photographers in the field, which made me happy because I felt as if I was still there with them,  even though by working on the picture desk I am now on the other side of the line. It certainly made me forget the huge distance that separates us – a distance that didn’t exist until December 2006, when I joined the Global Pictures Desk in Singapore.

Above: Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero gestures to supporters outside the Socialists party headquarters in Madrid, March 9, 2008.  Photograph by Alessandro Bianchi

Above: Spain’s opposition leader and Partido Popular (PP) candidate Mariano Rajoy embraces his wife Elvira Fernandez after his defeat in Spain’s general elections at the party’s headquarters in Madrid March 9, 2008. Photograph by Susana Vera

Before that I was immersed in my work of photographing bombing and riots; demonstrations and undercover midnight police operations; soccer matches and the running of the bulls;  news conferences and film festivals, and a plethora of etceteras in the troubled Basque Country region in Spain, where I had been a freelance photographer for Reuters since 1997. Adrenaline was my daily fuel, and I never thought I’d give it up for anything else in the world. But then I did.
Above: Me shooting the Tour of the Basque Country cyclist race. Photograph by Jesus Diges     

There are numerous reasons why I opted for such a change but I guess one stood out most at that time. The political struggle in the Basque Country was, happily, calming down and while it might sound cynical, we all know there’s not much news if there isn’t bad news. So of the various alternatives presented to me then, I decided to jump at the opportunity to work as an editor on the pictures desk in Singapore. After all, what better place was there to learn how a picture desk operates? and to witness what happens to the pictures once they’ve been shot and filed to the desk.
Above: Masked demonstrators hold pyrotechnic rokects and petrol bombs during riots on the streets of San Sebastián,  July 27, 1997. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez.

Above: Spanish Civil Guard members carry an environmental activist after he was arrested during a demonstration against the demolition of the village of Itoiz in northern Spain late June 16, 2003. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez.

Above: Masked Ertzainas (Basque Police members) stand guard outside the home of a suspected ETA member after arresting him in the Basque Country town of Zaldibia August 22, 2001. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez

Henri Cartier-Bresson is credited with saying: “Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks. And I can’t imagine a better place to learn to “cook” than the Global Pictures Desk. Cartier-Bresson has a point. In all my years as a photographer, and I’m sure my colleagues out there will agree, hunting images can prove to be the most exhilarating experience – at times intense, at times a necessary task, many times exciting, but all in all a truly great pleasure. It’s almost impossible to describe the rush you feel when you put your credibility on the line and try your utmost to find the best possible angles to illustrate reality, frame by frame. You often feel part of history as it unfolds. While the hunt is not about a claim to fame, I won’t deny that it feels good when, on the day after shooting the photographs, you find you are the creator of that picture that adorns every front page. Absolute gratification.
Above: A runner leads a fighting bull into Pamplona’s arena during the seventh run of the San Fermin Festival on July 13, 2001. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez
 Above: People crowd a cave near the Basque country village of Zugarramurdi to attend an “Aquelarre” (witches’ sabbath) June 21, 1998. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez

Above: A dog plows through heavy snow near Alsasua in Spain’s Basque country February 28, 2004 after freezing weather and heavy snowfall in many areas of Spain. Photograph by Pablo Sanchez.

Anyways, back on track. I guess I have an inkling of what the hunt is about, but what would be the fate of all the hard-won photographs without a crew of committed editors working around the clock to ensure that the pictures are perfectly presented to our clients all over the world. I mean, who will eat raw hunt – print the untouched images? Who will ever consume the product of my stalking if no one contributes the proper spices, sauces, oils and condiments – print a picture without the right crop, good colour balance or toning, and correct captions? I wish I knew then what I know now – that the people on the pictures desk are my group of dedicated picture editors working within many limits of multiple international datelines which feels like hungry patrons waiting at the table. Our clients can expect to be served with the best possible array of pictures that have been professionally primed under our stringent code of photo shopping ethics and ensure the speedy delivery of our top quality pictures and captions.

As a pictures editor I am now a cook and i’ll continue fine tuning my personal “cooking” style. I know that taking photographs will always be my first love but being familiar with both worlds allows me a fuller appreciation of how it all works together. I do miss taking pictures a lot more than I expected but I know I am helping “cook” – I know how important my contribution as a picture editor is. This also has made the transition between the two sides of photojournalism relatively painless. And I do believe working for Reuters is like working in a three-star Michelin restaurant.

]]> (Pablo S. Quiza) Basque Country ETA Reuters Singapore Spain editor photographer photography Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:08:23 GMT