Growing up in a big city in Brazil, I was never around horses.
When I moved to Dallas, TX at age 25, I was immediately intrigued by how passionate people were about their Horses.
To me, horses were impressive animals, of course. I’d seen them in movies and all, but why such obsession about them? I couldn’t quite comprehend it.
One day, my friend David, a horse fanatic and owner of a Horse Ranch (Stone Canyon Horse Ranch) near Dallas invited my husband and I to go ride Horses.
I’d never done it, so I didn’t know what to expect.
When we got there, I met Seven, a “redhead” Tennessee Walking horse whom I immediately fell in love with.
It was weird to experience such a deep bond with Seven right away. There was something about him, that connected with me on a spiritual level and made me feel better just by being around him.
I didn’t understand what was it about that animal that was so special, and what exactly was that strong relationship that us humans build with Horses.
I left the ranch that afternoon completely speechless.
I knew right away I that there was a powerful story to be told. A story I could only truly tell with my camera. The story of why the horse is a powerful animal, and why our interaction with them can heal us and bring us closer to what is essential in life.
All my previous fine art photography work had been on landscapes up to that point. So, when I decided to create an equine photography collection, most of my peers told me I was crazy. Due to the difficulty in photographing the horse, it would be foolish to take on such a big project with no previous experience.
A Horse’s body proportion is unusual. And, though it may seem like an easy task, one can completely ruin their form if not photographing them properly.
At first, I felt intimidated, but there was something bigger calling me to do this. I knew I wanted to explore them. I just needed to give it a try.
When I started out in photography, it didn’t take me long to realize that what I create is not about me or my talent. I’ve just been lucky to stumble into grace and do what I love. And when my gut screams YES to something, nothing can change my mind. Not even my own insecurities.
When I do a project (or a study), I want it to be an immersive experience. I want to understand what I’m portraying on a deep level. So that when I’m out there, I’m able to reveal the truth about the subject, to tell their story and capture a glimpse of their essence.
The pressure was on and if it wasn’t challenging enough, the weather completely turn on us only two days before the photoshoot started.
For landscape and equine photography, we always hope for overcast days. When we have thick clouds, they filter the sun light and create beautiful diffused natural lighting. For this project though, we ended up with 20 straight days of bright blue skies, not a single cloud in the sky.
Horses are skittish animals. They hate big white objects, so it was impossible to filter the light with typical photographer’s light diffusers. Ugh, it was tough and discouraging.
Though we had to adapt quickly, what I’ve accomplished with this body of work, far exceeded my expectations. I’m very proud of it.
I’m not proud because I feel I’ve proven how great of a photographer I am (who cares about that kind of stuff anyways), but because I feel I’ve succeeded in doing these animals justice.
While other horse photographers (whom I respect and admire greatly) tend to capture horses for their strength and beauty. I prayed that I could see something different in them and portray them for the tridimensional animals that they are. Beyond their strength, these animals are beautiful in many other ways. They’re curious, and silly, and humble, and loyal, and sensitive and centered. The list goes on, but…
I feel I’ve been able to capture these facets of their personalities in this collection.
Sometimes when I’m out there and things don’t go as expected, I often question myself. Why do I even do this? Why go through all this trouble, all the frustration, to get sometimes only one shot.
If I tried to rationalize it, I definitely wouldn’t do it. But the truth is, when I see that shot and I know it’s the one. The one shot that has all the elements; the textures, the shades, the emotional impact and the raw beauty. That’s the moment when, for me, my life makes sense.
The powerful strength and majestic beauty of these animals struck me from the time I first saw them, but their gentle souls, unwavering loyalty and humility have taught me how to be more humble, more human and more real.
I hope these images can move you into understanding more about the essence of these beautiful animals and to gain deeper insight into their reality. See more of my horse images here.
God Bless ya,
PS: My equine photography project was accomplished in 23 days in January, 2016. I photographed about 50 Horses in 6 different locations in Texas, with the help of around 20 incredible people between staff and volunteers.