This incredible photo marks the end of Matador Torero Alvaro Munera’s career. He collapsed in remorse mid-fight when he realized he was having to prompt this otherwise gentle beast to fight. He went on to become an avid opponent of bullfights. Even grievously wounded by picadors, he did not attack this man.
Torrero Munera is quoted as saying of this moment: “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.”
The widely circulated photograph displayed above purports to have captured Múnera at the very moment, in the middle of a bullfight, when he came to the realization that what he was doing was an injustice to animals and decided to henceforth campaign against bullfighting. Although Múnera did undergo such a conversion, this photo doesn’t depict the instant of his change of heart, for a number of reasons:
Múnera didn’t undergo his epiphany against bullfighting in the middle of a bullfight; he stopped participating in that activity only when he was forced out of the ring for good after a goring permanently paralyzed him.
The posture shown in the photograph is not one of a torero collapsing or expressing contrition; rather, it’s a common posture of desplante (defiance), a bit of showmanship in which the torero indicates his total domination of the bull by taking up what appears to be a dangerous position in front of the animal’s horns. (Also, the quotation that accompanies the photograph was not spoken by Múnera; it is the work of Spanish writer Antonio Gala, who was not himself a torero.)
Also it turns out the bull was a total dick, in case you had any illusions left