“When I have gone to take photos at concerts, they have asked me: whose girlfriend are you?”

Even before the splendid work he did with Berri Txarrak on the Navarran group’s international farewell tour –which also resulted in a book to be recommended–, the name and work of Eider Iturriaga were well known. Music and photography come together in it with a very personal stamp that is also reflected now in the Pandemic sessions exhibition, which will be seen for the first time today thanks to the Cosmic Fest. Specifically, the exhibition will remain for the next two months at the Old Tower Stuff facilities (San Vicente slope) as part of the extensive program that the event will develop on its return after the stoppage due to the pandemic.

It will be this Thursday at 8:30 p.m. when the production opens, an appointment that will feature the presence of the author and the sounds that Tiki Boom & Miss Waymon will be playing in a very special session also for another reason. “The passion for music comes from my father”, who passed away last December, so the sounds of the event will come from the father’s private disco. Thus, the launch of a sample that brings together thirty images taken in Vitoria with the covid as background scenery will be experienced.

It should be remembered that since the Cosmic Fest could not take place, its manager, the Gasteiz cultural promoter Mikel González, chose to organize special sessions adapted to the restrictions of each moment, concerts that were held in the Jimmy Jazz room. “The initial idea was to record, as a portrait, the bands that went through these appointments. But since the situation was so crazy, so unusual, I wanted to record what we were experiencing in the images and not take the typical group photos. To do this, the Biscayan creator chose to remove the groups from her context, as she did with the members of Ummo, whom she captured in a supermarket near the space on Coronación Street.

Those performances – “we have to thank Jimmy Jazz and Gasteiz for the commitment they made to keep going when they could” – helped Iturriaga get back on track after the break experienced by the appearance of the pandemic. “There were moments of depression, of thinking that he was still not going to take pictures again. I felt lack of desire. But when I started going out with my dog, I took the camera with me and started to get the bug back. I have an impressive collection of dog portraits”, laughs the author. Beyond the anecdote, the covid made evident the number of people who move any cultural event, people who, however, were left very helpless in that situation. “They abandoned us,” recalls Iturriaga, who was just hit by all this slowdown after closing the Berri Txarrak project.

It was a job that crossed borders but also a very demanding job. Even so, “a month after finishing I was already thinking that I wish I could get another tour”. But that is not easy at all. “I just came from a festival in Porto and you see how, outside, there are groups that take photographers with them because they understand that it is part of taking care of their image. That does not exist here. The Berri thing was an example that other bands could follow”. She doesn’t stop anyway. And she assures that in “99.9% of the occasions” she works with “absolute freedom”. In fact, she has a well-known house brand. “I’m still not always aware of having a stamp, so to speak, but there are people who see one of my photos and even if it’s not signed, they know it’s mine. That seems important to me.”

That yes, Iturriaga admits a characteristic not always so common in those who take photographs in direct. In each performance he bets on having at least one image in conditions of all the components of a group, no matter how numerous. “The bands attach a lot of importance to that,” explains the author, who recognizes that the best thing about her work is, precisely, that union of music and photography, her two great passions. “I ended up taking photos at concerts because it was something natural, something that had to happen.” She values ​​the experience of each concert (“of course I find out what’s going on and I enjoy it!”), especially in front of those who work in the same profession “just because they want to say that they know this musician or this another, or to boast that they were in one or another performance, that there is also that ”.

However, she points out that the hardest part of her work continues to have to do with the fact of being a woman. “In this world of men, many times, no matter how much I have worked on it, there are still people who think that I am there because I am the girlfriend of. That is a very unpleasant thing. All the time you have to be showing that you are worth doing this. Many times I have been asked: what do you come with? whose girlfriend are you? Well, she is the photographer Eider Iturriaga and from today she is exhibiting at Old Tower Stuff.

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“When I have gone to take photos at concerts, they have asked me: whose girlfriend are you?”

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