The famous ‘conversion’ photo of the ‘matador’ Álvaro Múnera is…


…actually of the real matador Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara, while the words associated with it were actually written by Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País. Read the full story on my updated blog post hereAlexander Fiske-Harrison

Álvaro Múnera: This photo is not what it seems…

The above photo has been doing the rounds on the internet with claims it is Álvaro Múnera Builes, a Colombian animal rights activist who worked briefly as a bullfighter in his youth under the name ‘El Pilarico’ in Colombia and then Spain. With the image comes these words, also claiming to be from Múnera.

And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.

In fact, not only is this not true, it could not be true, not least because the matador in the photo is actually Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara, pictured right, who is still working as a bullfighter in Spain. Meanwhile the words actually come from an article by the author and melodramatist Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País in 1995.

Below is how Múnera actually looked in the ‘suit of lights’ of a novillero. A novillero is a novice bullfighter. Múnera never even became a matador, let alone a famous one.

However, the most compelling reason that photo can have had nothing to do with Múnera is that he did not leave bullfighting because of some conversion in the bullring; quite the reverse. It was the bull that made him leave. Continue reading