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Fine Art Horse Photography or is Horse Art Photography Fine?

If you are the sort of person who likes a healthy debate i.e. a good old fashion bun fight, then feel free to ask a group of photographers what Fine Art Photography is and then sit back with a mug of cocoa and enjoy the carnage. Wikipedia, that totalitarian of modern knowledge, defines it as “photography created in line with the vision of the photographer as artist, using photography as a medium for creative expression”.


My simpler description is that a Fine Art Photograph is more than just a well taken, well-composed reproduction of what was in front of them but an image that the photographer put something of themselves into creating, whether that was an unusual perspective, an intriguing use of light or depth of field. Even simpler still, it is the difference between a photograph you would keep on your phone, album or on your mantlepiece and one that you have in a large format on your wall. And if there is one thing that I aspire to is to make pictures that people want to hang on their wall.


Getting the opportunity to spend time with a Master of Fine Art Photography, Jonathan Chritchely AND beautiful Friesian horses in their native environment in the Netherlands recently was a dream come true for me. If you are not familiar with Friesian horses, they are powerful, black horses with fantastic manes and tails left to grow long; originally bred as war horses. They are also the main breed used for the Lloyd Bank adverts principally for their impressive strength but calm nature. In short pretty damn gorgeous! Equally gorgeous were all the amazing Friesian Horse Studs that we visited during the trip; some having four or more barns each filled with >25 stalls of almost identically beautiful horses.


Each session was an intense photoshoot as the trainers encouraged each horse involved to show-off and didn’t, they just. The weather that week was very sunny which can be a photographer’s nightmare but was ideal for bringing out the gloss of these horses’ coats. I have always loved the way horses are built and as a child loved to sketch the curves of their necks, their soulful eyes and the straightness of their cannon bones (effectively shin bones for non-horsey people). Consequently, I was keen to focus on different elements of each horse with emphasis on their amazing musculature.


Having got some decent more conventional images it was time to have a play with panning (a techniques where you slow down the shutter speed but move the camera in the direction of the movement getting a mix of sharpness in some of the subject contrasting with a motion blur in the background. This can be a bit hit and miss but I was pleased with what I managed to take.


This was one trip that I was very sad to see end, but I left with several memory cards full of great images. In fact, I would say that at least a few qualify as Fine Art but if not, then Horse Photography is still Fine by me.

If you would like any of the images that feature in the Fine Art Gallery on my website, then please get in touch vis contact@largeaslifephotography.com. Equally if you would like your horse or pony to be captured in this sort of style then I would love to help.


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