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.
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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

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

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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.

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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