by David Bravo
There are two fantastic things about being a photographer. The first is the opportunity to stretch my own personal universe by seeing things for the first time. Up close and personal. Like childbirth. Or getting closer to a beehive than any human ever should. The other occupational gift is that I often see things I’ve seen before – only differently.
Both were at play in shooting this month’s issue, with its focus on everything equine.
From Mr. Ed and the Lone Ranger to Clint Eastwood – I’m dating myself here, I realize – I’ve not only loved looking at horses, but loved their ability to seem aloof while their gentle eyes speak of an almost human understanding. Simultaneously touchable and untouchable.
A horse is a horse, yes, but also more than a horse. How much higher did John Wayne tower when perched upon his horse? To be sure, the horse has been a defining accessory to cowboys and soldiers, ranchers, jockeys and musketeers. But it has also been an animal of tremendous industry and purpose. This comes to me often when I photograph historic homes and take note of the small cement post out front. At one time, 100 years before we considered whether we needed a car with a third row and backseat DVDs, we rode a horse down the Post Road to get a few items at the store.
Fortunately for horses, at least those I shot in this issue, their purpose has been restored to that which nature intended – muscled majesty free to run or to roam. Throughout Litchfield County and upstate New York, we captured horses moseying through meadows, cherished by their owners in five-star stables, fed well, ridden often, brushed gently and, above all, free.
I have seen horses before – and even mounted a couple with no small amount of indignity. The gift here was to see horses again, through the eyes of the owners who love them, stripped of popular culture and history.
A horse is, after all, a horse.
Of course, of course.