An espresso with…
Manolo Nebot Rochera

Image Credits: Manolo Nebot Rochera .

August 6, 2018

Internationally famous Spanish journalist and photographer

Manolo Nebot Rochera, still very active, boasts a long and shining career reaching the highest point in 2017 with the prize of the Jazz Journalist Association.
 

 
Who's Manolo Nebot Rochera?
I was born on December 12, 1960 in Vila-Real (Castellón), Spain, and I began to be interested in photography because an auntie of mine, my mother’s sister, used to adjust with a pencil the studio negatives for a photography laboratory and I accompanied her when she went to the laboratory. Therefore, that always caught my attention. When I was ten I bought my first camera, a Werlisa Colour and, a year after, my first enlarger.
When I was 13, thanks to my mother, I started studying music theory in my town’s music school for two years, and even if I soon quit studying I’ve always been in touch with music and with instruments as a self-taught person. In my house there are piano, saxophones, trumpets, harmonicas… when I was 14 I also began to be interested in a music genre which, until then, was completely unknown for me, the blues and, after that, jazz.
Since then until now, music and photography have always been present in my life. I’m better as a photographer than as a musician, even if I would have liked the contrary.
In 1982 photography becomes my profession as I enter in a local newspaper team, the Castellón Diario, where I stay until 1997. In this year I join another newspaper, Mediterráneo, where I stay as head of breaking news photography. A total of 36 years spent as a professional in the graphic press.
 
Why have you chosen jazz photography?
Towards the end of the 80s I began going to concerts and taking pictures, but in the early 90s in a new jazz club in my town, the Café del Mar in El Grao de Castellón, I discovered the beauty of jazz photography and its possibilities. A musician, Lou Bennet, was the one who woke up this kind of photography in me, which I still haven’t left.
You can see my works in my Facebook album Portraits of Jazz 
 
Would you like to share with us an anecdote about your relationships with jazz musicians?
My relationships with jazz musicians are recent thanks to social networks; before, I used to take pictures and possibly they did not look at them, at least in a short time. Now, they are interested in my works and some of them utilized my pictures for their albums, such as Scott Hamilton, Jean Toussaint, Champian Fulton, Lou Bennet and many more. I have many anecdotes, some time ago I was greeting Benny Golson and while I was taking a picture with him, he literally fell on me… a very nice guy!
 
In your work, the influence of great masters can be seen. What can kind of advice can you give to photographers wishing to approach this art?
Truth is I discovered the great masters when I was already taking jazz pictures for a long time, I was a self-taught person in music and photography. The advice I could give is that, more than trying to imitate the others, the important thing is deeply believe in what you do, I take inspiration from music and musicians, if I’m not inspired by a musician, my pictures will hardly be good.
 
Which is your favourite gear?
I’ve been working with Nikon for almost all my life, I now own a D4S, D4, D3 and 70-200 2,8, 14-24 lenses; my favourite is the 400 2,8. I keep all the cameras I’ve worked with in more than 40 years dedicated to photography.
 
The pic you'd wish to have taken?
Not only one, a lot! Take into account that where I live, as far as jazz is concerned, you must take advantage of all the few concerts that there are and that I don’t travel that much. I’d love to live in New York for a season!
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Images © Manolo Nebot Rochera
 
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Manolo Nebot Rochera Interview 2018 Leonardo Schiavone Jazzespresso Jazz Magazine - copyright 2018 

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Manolo Nebot Rochera

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