Wed, Aug 8 2012 06:32
| Horse Talk, Opinion
The first time I photographed horses was when studying for my photography degree. I was picking up various bits of work but started working regularly for an events photography team, covering all the major shows including The Royal Welsh and other regional majors. My introduction to photographing horses was simple and basic to say the least. Point the camera with a fast shutter, track the horse and push the button. Then, when a horse was standing, photograph him and make sure that he is smiling. Rigid, formulaic and painful but apparently those were the pictures that sold.
When I began photographing horses again, post degree and for myself, I started to understand a little more about the equine world. I started to notice the differences in approach and opinion between the various different horse lovers that nestle on yards of all manner and description. I have worked with equine professionals of all descriptions from racing trainers to natural horseman and I have observed the dedicated individuals who work every hour to pay for and create the happiest life for their horse.
So my approach to photographing horses has been influenced greatly by people and professionals. I have looked at George Stubbs, the greatest equine artist, and asked what it is that he achieves that is so unique, so powerful and so correct. It is a simple answer as he concentrates first and foremost on the horse. My work concentrates on the horse and the relationship they have with their environment, their owners and other horses or animals. Stubbs would paint the horse first and fill in the background later. The background is only important in horse photography in terms of detailing the environment, the location and at times the moment. I concentrate on the horse.
I have looked at the much celebrated horse photographer Matthew Seed and the various other photographers who copied his fashionable style. Some powerful imagery created and well lit, but not natural, makes for often striking images without a connection. I like Matthews work, it has often given me a point of reference, but i cannot help but feel somewhat distant from it.