Monday, July 31, 2017

Thoughts on Photography

I am not a photographer. My "camera" is my phone, as I'm sure all you photography snobs (not an insult) can tell. I definitely respect the money, time, and talent that goes into creating professional-quality images. I've occasionally thought about investing the money in a real camera, but then there's still the time and talent issues which I am unlikely to resolve.

But.

One thing I've learned from the photographers I've worked with is that photography is far more art than science. I mean yes. There is a formula to catching "sport" images and knowing the right moment to capture a horse in motion for the different disciplines and eventually, sure, anyone can learn it.
angsty. dramatic. courageous.
But the candids are a different beast all together. Candid photos are all about showing the horse as she is, and there is no rigid mold for that. To do it right, I have to learn to understand the horse I'm working with. I got really good at capturing Courage as a model. He was easy--look of eagles, dramatic posing, and all that is noble and bold about an equine.
equally dramatic corgi
Very few horses are like Courage. He just had that classic quality that made him incredibly photogenic and he was authentically that good looking all the goddamn time.

And see, good candid photography is capturing the subject as they are, not as you want them to be.

I've met a handful of other blogger horses this year and attempting to photograph them has been such an interesting challenge. They are all very cool horses in their own ways, but not one of them is like Courage. I met Hampton first, so let's look at him first.
awww
Hampton is a really cool guy. There are things about him that are dramatic, but he's also sweet and goofy and wants to be your buddy. I took lots of cute Hampton pictures and goofy Hampton pictures, but the ones that really stand out to me are the ones with Karen.
love this
What is most fascinating to me about Hampton is his relationship with Karen. On his own, he's an adorable, bumbling, awkward average-looking horse.

With Karen, he's this amazing, larger-than-life, confident, suave character. The two of them make each other better. 

And then there's Roxie
ROXIECORN <3
She's an entity unto herself. Fiercely independent. Brashly opinionated. Utterly fearless. Her relationship with her mom is almost more a mutual respect thing or a meeting of equals than some sort of horse/human thing. They are kind and sensitive and hilarious, but they are their own horse (/person) first. 
big skies
Even capturing Roxie in motion was tricky--the "conventional" motion shots didn't capture her right. Reducing her to a series of angles and math problems completely missed what she is. This shot is completely the wrong moment for your average warmblood or thoroughbred, but I love how it catches the lift in her stride, the wide open space, and her focus on her job. 

Another tricky horse to shoot is Gatsby. He is really more of an overgrown puppy than a horse. I mean. I can dress him up and pose him just so and try to make him look like Courage.
hm that's a no
But one look at the photo, and it's just not him. He was definitely the most challenging in terms of learning his personality in order to capture it. 
so not how courage would have used this light

When I stopped imposing what I wanted him to be, I found who he was all along. 
this is them
Gatsby is an unconventional guy and he has an unconventional relationship with his mom. They're silly and authentic and completely unlike any pair I've worked with before.

Zoe is new to me. She's a whole different horse is so many ways. 
HAI OTHER Z BIRD
She's brave and curious. Friendly, but a little shy. I'm still learning just what it is that makes her tick and until then, I feel like my shots of her are going to be a little hit-and-miss.
HI MOM R U BRING COOKEEZ
Photography is an art form and I'm no artist. I look forward to getting acquainted with Ms. Zoebird and figuring out her personality.  

32 comments:

  1. I've always been a huge fan of your candids and what they reveal about each horses personalities. I can't wait to watch Zoë's personality blossom and shine in your care! I also desperately want you to visit "hell" and photograph my girls 😋

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    1. Ha well first it needs to not be summer.

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  2. My face 😂😂😂🙈
    I love this post and you are quite magical with the iPhone.

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  3. Replies
    1. Haha yeah. My #mediaho tendencies really drive me.

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  4. HOLY SH*T She is so shiny already! How did you do that? Magic!

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    1. I hardly think I can take credit for what genetics and nutrition did for her. ;-)

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  5. I love this!! It's so true that each horse and horse/owner pair are so different, and it's really fun to see that come out in the photos! You should do a traveling iphone photography trip to all the bloggers.

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    1. Sadly my east coast trip is postponed due to "buying a horse". Who knew.

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  6. I love this too! I love the idea of a traveling iPhone photography trip haha. I've had Katai for 4 years now and I feel like I'm still figuring her out. She's sassy and opinionated as well but also cute so sometimes I struggle to capture her in the right moment. Plus there's the fact that she won't leave me alone so most of my pictures of her are from up close or when she's tied lol

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    1. I definitely install a sit/stay button in my horses for optimal photography. ;-)

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  7. oh my god her butt is so shiny i want to rub my face on her

    i totally get what you're saying in this entry though. it's finding 'their' smile. although maybe not literal smile, as thats terrifying.

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  8. ROXIE!!

    While Ryon was a goofball to grab pictures of, Mae is such a princess. She definitely waits for you to get her best side (after she tries to eat the camera first). I can't wait to see Z's personality blossom

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  9. Honestly, I love some of the pictures my completely not camera savvy, literally legally blind friend takes more than my photography friends'. Sometimes you just gotta capture the moment.

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    1. It's fascinating to me--a true photographer with a great camera will hands down take a better photo artistically than me every day of the week.

      But if they don't know horses and you're a horse person? It doesn't always work.

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  10. I love this, and obviously I relate. Jack's personality is still blossoming in my mind and so my photos of him are kind of so/so. It's always a process trying to make each horse's personality shine!

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    1. I also think it's a little easier to pick up on a personality as an outside observer than as a participant. The emotional ties with our own critters can cloud our judgement some.

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  11. Capturing the horse's personality is not easy and you do it well.

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    1. Haha or I completely misrepresent them and no one is the wiser. ;-) Thank you for the vote of confidence.

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  12. So excited to see all your photos of her!!

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  13. Different personalities can be so hard to photograph - I am very lucky to have a poser horse (kind of like Courage), so when I have to photograph other people's horses it always surprises me that they don't just strike a pose all the time.

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    1. There's definitely a huge variety out there.

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  14. Indy is like courage - never takes a bad photo. Dark horses are hard to photo I have d learned with Valley. If you have any tips in the future let me know.

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    1. Haha dark horses plus bright light are completely impossible. And it's summer. 🙈

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  15. That might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me and Hampton. <3

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  16. I really like this post. You do a great job of capturing personality in your pics. I can't wait to see all the pics of Zoë and her personality.

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