Photographer Juan Carlos Teuma with Naomi Campbell. SUR
Memoirs of fifty years as one of the paparazzi on the Costa del Sol
Celebrity photographer

Memoirs of fifty years as one of the paparazzi on the Costa del Sol

Gibraltar photographer Juan CarlosTeuma has just published his memoirs in English of his experiences as a paparazzo in Marbella

David Lerma


Friday, 31 May 2024, 15:46

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Juan Carlos Teuma (born in La Línea de la Concepción in 1949) has just published his memoirs in English, Hunting Lights in Shadows: Memoirs of a Paparazzo. The book, written in collaboration with his son Jonathan, covers 50 years of his career as a celebrity photographer on the Costa del Sol. The story of this Gibraltarian, who documented the then-vibrant social life of Marbella with his camera for 45 years, is as thrilling as an adventure novel.

"My father was Gibraltarian and married a girl from La Línea, which was very common then. I was raised in Tetouan until I was eleven. My father was a British consul but my mother moved back to La Línea to give birth. She didn't want us to be born in Morocco," he says.

His professional career began as a camera assistant at GBC, the public television of the Rock, after finishing his studies in school. "I was very interested in photography, but I thought Gibraltar was too small and I didn't want to be a civil servant." So Teuma went to London for a while. Upon his return, he had the opportunity to work as an assistant to a photographer from a cruise company that stopped in Gibraltar. "We spent a couple of months in the winter cruising the Canary Islands, Venice, Senegal...," he recalls. The photographer, of Greek origin, appreciated his work and suggested that he continue. "I spent a year and a half on board." Teuma photographed tourists during their land excursions and developed the photos in the lab.

The photographer retired shortly after to set up a studio in Athens. Teuma didn't want to follow him. "When I arrived here, it was the best time in Marbella, but I didn't know it then." He started working in a photo lab near the bullring. "I was a pioneer in quick photos for tourists. I also worked in hotels but. I felt there was something more. One day, I met some Italian paparazzi. It was when Franco had just legalised the wearing of bikinis. I was already known, I had been given assignments and I spoke English," he adds. His photos sold well among the British and Spanish press: Hola, The Sun, News of the World, Daily Mirror.

The Italians wanted to find the beach where the Duchess of Alba sunbathed in a bikini. "I knew that her house led directly to the beach, and I knew when she was going out because the servants would come out to prepare the chairs and towels." "They [the Italians] came with a massive lens," he recalls.

The Italians' photos weren't very good so they offered him a chance to take some for them.

"I went with the longest lens I had, I think it was a 300mm. The duchess came out, but she was too far away. I kept getting closer while shooting until she saw me. She called me over. "Were you taking photos of me?" she asked. "I was trying to" I told her. "I'm new at this. I don't want to bother you." In response, Cayetana Fitz-James cheekily said, "Well, you just should have asked!" And Teuma was thus able to arrange a posed photo with her and her husband, Jesús Aguirre.

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