Iberia Chief Photographer Emilio Morenatti used his superb news sense both at home and abroad to land exclusive access to the intimate moments shared by the winner of a regional election in northeastern Spain.

Morenatti built up a rapport with Salvador Illa, the Spanish politician who had dealt with the pandemic as health minister, over Morenatti’s work during the last few years. After shadowing Illa during the campaign, Morenatti obtained access to see the countdown of the votes with the politician — the candidate that all polls said would win the election — and his team. That meant Morenatti — and the AP — had a rare glimpse into the inner sanctum of a politician in a crucial moment, surrounded by aides in an atmosphere of excitement and nervousness that the photos show.

The photos — showing images that are extremely rare, almost inexistent, in the Spanish political tradition — very quickly flooded all the Spanish digital media on their live coverage of the election countdown. They were also featured in television newscasts and were printed on the front pages of most national and regional dailies.