‘We were out on the trail for three days with no shops and nothing to eat. And all I had with me was my camera, 20 rolls of film and a T-shirt’
I’ve been taking photographs on the El Rocío pilgrimage for 40 years, and it’s still just as intense an experience as it was the first time. Each year, more than 100 brotherhoods travel to the hermitage at El Rocío from all over Andalucía. I had heard that the Brotherhood of Triana was famous for its richness and its beauty, so in 1976 I decided to travel with them.
I went to their district in Seville, where they start their journey, and it was overwhelming: all the women in these beautiful flamenco dresses; the men just as beautifully dressed up; the horses; the oxen; the heavily decorated hooded wagons, or carretas each family travels with; the silver carreta out front, carrying the sin pecado, the banner without sin, that some people venerate even more than the Virgin herself. I didn’t know whether to look left or right, in front or behind.