I would love to say my black and white equine photography
is a pure and original expression, but that’s not the case.
I stumbled across this style several years ago while working on
my photography degree. An associate from a sister school was at
her barn one night with her camera when someone was putting
their horse away. It was dark out, save the one light mounted well
above the entrance to the barn, and she took the shot as they
were walking inside. She liked the shot well enough, but for me
it was transformational. I told her I was going to pursue this as
a style, and soon after I began a special project that would allow
me to explore shooting horses at night. I have never looked back.
When you talk to artists who work with horses, regardless
of medium, the most common thing you hear is the desire to
capture the spirit, energy or essence of the horse. I love this style
because I feel it provides a window into the spirit unencumbered
and undistracted by flora, fauna, and everyday surroundings. It is the juxtaposition of raw power and delicate beauty that, for me,
communicates the profound link between mankind and nature.
As the equine community well knows, horses have played
a central role in the advancement of humankind for thousands
of years, and only since the industrial revolution have we seen
a split where generations have now grown up with little to no
contact with horses. As Buck Brannaman so ominously states in
his workshops, there may be a day in the future when the only
place we see horses will be the city zoo. Consequently I am on a
mission of sorts, to reintroduce horses to “mainstream America.”
My goal with this body of work and the book I plan to
publish at the end of this year is to reach the people who don’t
identify themselves as “horse people.” I would like urbanites and
city-dwellers to feel this bond of trust, this spiritual connection.
The long-term fate of the horse population is in everyone’s hands,
and I want this group of people to know that you can love and
Learn more about Photographer Gene Devine at www.devine-images.com
appreciate these animals without ever setting foot on a ranch.
I have been blessed because most of my clients have grown
up with a love, appreciation, and relationship with horses,
although very few had seen them presented this way. This style is
often compared to lighting a human fine art nude or figure study.
For me, the absence of fields and fences, mountains and sky, allow
the viewer to be completely immersed in the beautiful paradox of
beauty and power.
It is difficult to articulate the rewards that come from this
form of intimate equine photography. With each new commission,
I meet horses and people that often become and remain friends
and enrich my life immensely. When you feel a calling it colors
the way you view and approach everything in life. As I continue
to explore this interpretation of the horse, I hope I can bring that
sense of intimacy and kinship to cities and suburbs that don’t
have these blessings in their everyday life.