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How many Osborne bulls are there in Spain?

A book captures Pau Barroso's obsession with portraying each and every one of the iconic billboards

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How many Osborne bulls are there in Spain?
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  • FOTOGALERÍAEl book ' Toro '
  • Osborne's bull has been watching road for 60 years

Almost every day his obsession was presented to him: to find next bull. The Madrid-based photographer Pau Barroso decided in year 2008, by his own will, to locate and capture with his camera all advertising bulls that Osborne brand distributed for decades through Spanish landscape, until 90 that are standing today. "I wanted to contextualize, far from polemics", that recognizable figure who created in 1957 Cadiz Manolo Prieto (1912-1991), says Barroso on phone. "Prieto was a crazed designer, in addition to left," he adds, to remove him from prejudice about his most popular work, "which cannot relate to bull of Lydia," he says.

Barroso also wanted, with this road movie to search for fences that passed commercial interests for those who were raised, "claim work of photojournalist, an undervalued profession," he stresses. It has been about 90,000 kilometers traveled for almost four years to find 90 bulls, "of which about half is on highways and or on old national roads."

The many hours of solitude, of inquiries to photograph same goal ("Everyone returned to never repeat a photo"), generated a wear in which he came to consider: "But what am I doing?". Fortunately, both bustle has had its reward with recent publication of book Toro, edited by Osborne Foundation and foundation Santa Maria La Real Historical heritage, on occasion of 60 years, completed in 2017, first fence of this brand of Alcoholic beverages that settled in Spain, in Cabanillas de la Sierra (Madrid). It was at kilometer 55 of national I, it was a wood advertisement, of four meters of height and with white horns. His birth accompanied one of Seat 600 that began to circulate on Spanish roads.

In just one year, re were 15 more members in herd. In 1961, animal grew to seven meters and became made of iron sheet, completely black. Later, he doubled his height, when regulations forced him furr away from tracks, which transformed him into an emblem of 50,000 kilos of weight.

Since n, each silhouette has developed its own history and has used its black profile as a canvas on which to reproduce "from figures of Guernica to swastikas", or to commemorate Sanfermines, so happens with one in Toledo, which every July 7 appears Adorned with a pañuelico. Next to images, in book re is a map to locate where y are: Andalusia leads number of specimens, with 23, followed by Castilla-La Mancha (14). There are bulls in all autonomous Communities, except Cantabria and region of Murcia, and from Spain, y jumped to Denmark and Mexico.

The photographer has also had his ration of anecdotes, from pleasant conversations in shade with pastors who did not understand very well what he did, even compromised situations, as when he saw quilling by a shotgun because to make his picture had Entered a private estate, or fights against Wasps.

For this work, Barroso used a short target and has played with aspects such as location of fence, usually on highs away from road; Wear, re are with sun, photographed to more than 40 degrees, or snowy, to 10 below zero, black on white. Some are lit by full moon and ors have light of dawn. Also environment, shown next to traffic signs or rail network. At or times, Barroso's bulls are accompanied by people passing by, or living with sheep, pigs, horses... Erected next to cemeteries and golf courses, or surprise near skyscrapers. Always with its monumental motionless figure dominating horizon.

The Iron Bull pardoned

In 1987, Socialist government of Felipe González decreed prohibition of billboards on roads for road safety. Osborne tried to circumvent law by eliminating any publicity message from surface of bull, which was completely painted in black. After a fine in 1994 for maintaining famous silhouettes, considered subliminal publicity, Junta de Andalucía declared a good Cultural interest to bulls of its territory. In 1997, Supreme Court ruled in favor of company after appeal it had presented this because it considered that its popular publicity had been "integrated into landscape", and it argued for its conservation " aestic interest". Thus, Osborne's bull was pardoned and in 2017 could celebrate 60 years of first figure, erected on outskirts of Madrid.

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  • FOTOGALERÍAEl book ' Toro '


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