Up-and-coming matador Damian Castaño, 23, practices with his brother and fellow bullfighter Javier at the Plaza de Toros in Salamanca, Spain.
Antonio Lopez Fuentes works on the vest of a “traje de luxes,” or suit of lights. Fuentes is head tailor and owner of Fermín, a shop that specializes in the outfits worn by Spain’s bullfighters.
Bullfighter Rafael de la Rosa watches tailor Antonio Lopez Fuentes adjust his new suit through the shop’s dressing room mirror. He needed it for a bullfight 10 days later.
David "Fandi" Fandila Marín uses his fuchsia and gold capote, or cape, to lead the bull through a series of movements, sizing up his opponent. This is the first of three segments of each fight, called the Tercio de Varas. The corrida de toros, or bullfight, took place during the Saint Peter de Regalado's festival in Valladolid, Spain on May 11, 2014.
"El Fandi" wows the crowd with his quick reflexes as he uses his fuchsia and gold capote to lead the bull through a series of movements during the Tercio de Varas.
Bull number 214 is stabbed by one of the "picadors" of matador Enrique Ponce's cuadrilla, or team, as the bull's horn gets stuck in the horse's protective gear. This is part of the first step in a modern Spanish-style bullfight. The picador is one of the bullfighters charged with weakening the bull before the matador takes the ring.
The banderilleros, an integral part of the matador's team, stab the bull with colorful batons during the second part of the modern-styled bullfight.
Matador El Fandi jumps in to stab the bull. The "banderilla" is the second step in the three-part modern bullfight, in which three pairs of colorful batons are attached to the back of the bull, and held in with barbed tips. It can be done by the matador or by one of the three "banderilleros," also bullfighters.
Already stabbed and decorated with the batons, bull #214 takes a moment as he observes the movement of the cape. Every small movement means a different charge, a different attack.
Matador El Fandi plunges the estoque, or steel sword, into the bull during the final part of the fight. This act is called the "estocada.". It is a show of skill if the matador can pierce the heart on his first thrust and bring the bull to his knees. El Fandi did not accomplish his kill on the first strike. He did on the second.
Matador Ponce strikes a pose after delivering the final blow to his second bull at the Saint Peter de Regalado's festival. Impaired by injuries and blood loss, the bull collapses onto his back while charging at Ponce's cape, pushing the banderillas, or spiked batons, further into his muscles.
The crowd applauds José María Manzanares after a successful and enjoyable bullfight. Matadors can be honored with up to three trophies in the ring: one ear for a good fight, two for an excellent one and both ears and the tail for a spectacular show. Manzanares won both ears.
The crowd reacts to José María Manzanares' second fight at the end of the event. Through the use of white cloths, spectators express their praise for the performance, signaling to the president of the bullfight that the matador's skills must be recognized.
José María Manzanares turns to the crowd holding the slain bull's ears - his reward for a strong performance in the eyes of the audience and the bullfight's president. The victorious matador, or "torero," is then carried out of the arena on the shoulders of his ecstatic supporters.
Bull number 214 is removed from the plaza about 20 minutes after he entered. A ceremonial entourage, using three mules, removes the bull's body as men with rakes cover the blood-stained sand to ready the ring for the next fight.
Spared from slaughter, this Salamancan toro bravo spends his days in the pasture of Peña de Francia bull farm. In extremely rare cases, "good bulls" are pardoned by the bullfight's president and returned to the farm where they were born. They become part of the farm's breeding stock, ensuring that a strong genetic pool is preserved for bullfights to come.