In 1711 near Windsor Castle, Queen Anne admired a bit of earth, commenting that it seemed “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch.” Later that year the tradition of Royal Ascot began, and has continued ever since with over 300,000 guests flooding the course for an annual festival distinctly English in spirit.
Photographer Felix González Muñiz first attended Ascot in 2015 for a Spanish equestrian magazine, and assembled with his images such a visual bounty that we had to ask him to share.
Emily von Hoffmann: What in particular did you hope to capture about Ascot in your images?
Felix González Muñiz: Mainly I wanted to show a particular view of the event, perhaps unknown to many, but very interesting and real, for a large part of the public.
EvH: Was this your first time attending? How did you become interested in documenting the spectacle?
FGM: It was indeed my first time — I went to make a report on the races for a Spanish magazine specializing in the world of horses.
EvH: Can you share with us some of your impressions of the event? What are some interactions you had or observed that stand out most in your memory?
FGM: People in general just like to see themselves — this time was no different, and the camera was welcomed no problem. Everyone wanted to be in the picture! I found many friendly people who wanted to interact with the photographer, but on other occasions I also “stole” a photo or two.
EvH: It’s an incredibly extravagant event, and your previous work has focused on similarly luxurious scenes — what draws you to these events in particular?
FGM: I really like street photography, and I think where I feel best as a photographer is in big events where people are having fun. Being behind the camera at events like these is a very interesting chance to observe behavior.
EvH: What are one or two of your favorite shots?
FGM: I really like one taken in the parking lot, where a family is eating over the car hood. One of the women opened the umbrella and began to sing — Spectacular!
FGM: Another of my favorites is the shot of the couple at the end of the day, sitting on a step. You do not know exactly what is happening, which is very interesting for the viewer.
EvH: Can you share with us any plans for future work that you’re excited about right now?
FGM: I am currently preparing a book on El Camino de Santiago in Asturias — the origin of the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela — where tradition has it that the body of Saint James the Apostle (Spain’s patron saint) is buried.