Portrait of Enrique Meneses

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Old people usually stuck in time, but Enrique Meneses is an exception. He is an example of an 83 year old journalist who has adapted to all times.

He has used everything, from the pen and the paper clip to social networks. Enrique loves journalism so much that he hasn’t retired yet. He’s overcome two types of cancer and he is fighting his third. However, from his wheelchair, and assisted with oxygen, Enrique continues writing on his computer.

He lives in the “City of journalists”, a complex of five buildings that the Press Association built in the north of Madrid. His apartment is big, bright and chaotic, with a touch of romanticism. Enrique spends most of his time in a living room that is filled with books, old magazines and pictures.

From his armchair, he points on an image of Martin Luther King that is leaning on a stack of books.

– I am especially proud of this picture. In an art gallery in San Francisco, there was a photography exhibition based on the history of black people from the days of slavery up to Obama. Can you believe I had taken the picture they chose of Martin Luther King? He must have been photographed a hundred thousand times in the U.S. by really good American photographers.

Enrique Meneses works sitting in an armchair in front of his laptop. Next to him, there is a side table with some medicine on it, a loaf of bread and coffee without sugar, which he left to stand.

Next to the armchair, there is a cap hanging which is engraved with “Enrique Meneses Academy”.

– My daughter gave it to me, seeing all the students who come home, she considers this is to be an academy. Many people say they have learned more here than in four years at University.

On the wall in his living room, there are several paintings, but the one which presides over the room, is a picture of his wife, who always seems to be present.

At home, there is a contrast between history and modern life. A clear example is a hand-made pygmy knife, next to the router table, that was crushed up into a dagger, among many other souvenirs of his travels.

Behind his desk, light enters through a large window giving access to a terrace. On the balcony, there is a screen wall painted with some pictures. He made it himself so that his wife could sunbath without being seen by the neighbours.

Enrique, as well as taking photographs, also draws, because he considers painting to be important to learning some new tricks.

– On a cover, you know that the titles should be on the right side, so that you have to try to take a photo looking toward the edge, rather than the binding, to allow the background to be neutral to highlight the titles.

Enrique has so many stories and anecdotes that it is difficult to talk about his life detached from the character. His living room has become an office where he receives some journalism students, because he loves to teach and share. Talking to Enrique means to receive a lesson in life, history and journalism.
Enrique Meneses died on January 6th, 2013. Rest in peace, Enrique.

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This story is in English thanks to Raquel Páramo

February, 2013 · Madrid · Spain
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