Why photograph horses?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently as it became incredibly obvious when spending a week at a dude ranch that I’m not a horsewoman. I didn’t grow up around horses. I didn’t obsess about them as a child. My only real experience with horses was going up to see my cousin’s horse, Danny, in the Dublin Mountains once or twice.
Truth be told…..they scare the living daylight out of me sometimes. So much so that I’ve been volunteering once a week at We Can Ride so I can get more comfortable just being around them. It seems odd then that I’m fearless standing out in the open photographing horses running towards me, but I’m good with it as long as there is a camera in my hand.
The Australian poet Pam Brown may have captured it best when she declared, “A horse is the projection of people’s dreams about themselves — strong, powerful, beautiful — and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.”
When I photograph a horse (or horses) I’m aware of their power and feel that anything is possible—that my life is free from any and all restrictions. I haven’t always felt this way and know that it has something to do with the passing of my father. So it’s only in the last several years that I have explored why I’m so drawn to these intrinsically and stoically beautiful animals. It’s something about their gracious spirit that strikes a purely emotional nerve deep in my psyche.
Of course they are mystical, magical and iconic—and have been depicted in artwork throughout history starting with the cave dwelling of megalithic times. The myth of the Centaur—a half-human and half-horse creature was inspired by early man on horseback—shows man as being one with these magnificent creatures.
My artwork is created by making several under-paintings and slowly building up to the surface of the substrate. I get lost in creating work that reveals itself the more you look at it. I find that reality is overrated. It’s what you make of it, how you interpret it through the creative eye that counts. When photographing and working with horse images I realize that my passion, emotion, and personality are allowed to shine through in a myriad of ways. Each image I make then becomes a self-portrait.
If you photograph horses I would love to hear your comments below as to what draws you to photograph them.
With all good wishes,