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Reflective Commentary

I settled on working with a group of horse people at a stable yard where a good friend of mine keeps her horses. I asked her to seek permission from the owner and the other patrons of the yard for me to come along and take some pictures.

I visited on a number of occasions, drank tea and talked with the riders, I watched what they were doing and took hundreds of images as they went about the daily routine of caring for and enjoying the relationship with their horses. I took a seat with me and moved it about the yard shooting from the same height to get a similar feel to all of the images.

On each occasion, I worked out what they were doing to and with their horses and captured images of these events to build up a picture of the people and their love of horses.

My overwhelming impression as I took these images was how much the people love their horses and how great the lengths they will go to, to look after them.

I wanted to capture a series of images that would reflect the love people have for horses and at the same time show how much effort is expended to express this love.

The only way I could see of achieving this was to spend whole days with them as they went about the daily routine of tending to their animals. I found by talking horses with them and drinking tea and supplying donuts I developed a friendly rapport with the people and was able to digest the atmosphere which hopefully reflects in the pictures I took. I did not stage any of the images as I wanted to capture the natural rhythm of the yard and keep the series authentic.

I could have planned a series of images depicting each of the activity elements of a busy stable yard and arrange with different people to stage each image. I probably would have achieved more perfect images that were more technically perfect, which if I was producing a book may have been better but for this series I prefer the authentic feel and less technically perfect images.

I really don’t like this kind of photography and to some extent the direction of the assignment has had me bound up for such a long time. I am more of a photo-fiction sort of person or an in the studio guy where I have control of all the elements. So, this assignment was a long way out of my comfort zone, that said I had a good time made some new friends and got some images that I am not unhappy with.

I think on the whole it worked because I ended up with a set of images that to me reflect the ambiance of the place and demonstrate the work and care that goes into daily life at a stable yard.