I was born loving two things – beauty and strength. The horse is an animal that is beautiful, strong and powerful; and inspires me to have more freedom, grace and courage in my life. A large semi-wild horse herd lives in La Cacharel, Montpellier. The following images are from my 4-day photography holiday in La Cacharel. Many moments of this experience were both exciting and inspiring, with a new challenge or surprise at every turn. My best surprise was falling in love with Mallards – very beautiful birds in Golfe de Saintes Maries on my first day in Montpellier. [I will share some of my photographs of Mallards in a later blog.]
However, my biggest challenge was photographing a Stallion and a Gelding in vicious wind on my third day. The wind was blowing so hard and spraying sand into every where; my eyes, my ears, mouth, etc. I had to stand with my legs spread out to brace myself from its power. But no matter what challenge each moment brought, I was determined to embrace it and to enjoy the wonderful experience of photographing and spending time with new friends, the beautiful horses and their equally beautiful ‘Les Gardians’ – the gardians of the Camargue, whose paramount consideration was the well-being of the horses. At challenging moments, I kept reminding myself of a quote by Anne Bronte – But he who dares not grasp the thorn. Should never crave the rose.
Whatever the weather, the horses showed no sign of discomfort, for they are comfortable in that beautiful and brutal landscape in which they live. A landscape that was just like life as we know it, but more brutal and unforgiving with an underlying magnificence and beauty that casts a powerful spell on you. When happy, which was 99% of the time, the horses rubbed their necks and mouth together and engaged in play fighting. When irritated, they kick at each other. And there were may tender moments. The horses are curious and interested when they meet you and they immediately start assessing whether you are friend or foe. I think they get it right, because they are very intelligent and perceptive.
Spending time with the Camargue horses was beyond fabulous. They are a great subject for a fine art photographer because they have plenty of spirit and attitude. You cannot help but respond, for they constantly challenge you to say something great. TIM MANNAKEE, who arranged this great photography holiday said that, ‘The best images are often a result of hard work and discomfort.‘ I am both in agreement and thankful to Tim. Please see below a selection of my images from La Cacharel. I hope you fall in love with the horses as I did.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. WINSTON CHURCHILL
His is a power enhanced by pride, a courage heightened by challenge. His is a swiftness intensified by strength, a majesty magnified by grace. His is a timeless beauty touched with gentleness, a spirit that calls our hearts to dream. UNKNOWN
Horses make a landscape look beautiful. ALICE WALKER
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true, REVELATION 11
In riding a horse, we borrow freedom. HELEN THOMPSON.
Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave. RONALD DUNCAN
In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart. UNKNOWN
About the head of a truly great horse; there is an air of freedom unconquerable. The eyes seem to look on heights beyond our gaze. It is the look of a spirit that can soar. JOHN TAUNTER FOOTE
Love me and the world is mine. DAVID REED
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. INGRID BERGMAN
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply. GENESIS 1:28
I have seen things so beautiful that they have brought tears to my eyes. yet none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty of a horse running free. UNKNOWN
THE HORSES ARE COMING 1
THE HORSES ARE COMING 2
A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot. JOHN STEINBECK
The horse lends you his strength, speed and grace. LUCY REES.
No hour of life is wasted when spent in a saddle. WINSTON CHURCHILL
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 1
God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. R.B. CUNNINGHAM GRAHAM
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 2
One must think when looking at a horse in motion, that it hears music inside its head. UNKNOWN
THe horse moved like a dancer, which is not surprising. A horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music. MARK HELPRIN
But we have ghosts in our mist. All night long, I can hear them splashing in the dark. Horses and their gardians long gone, but still alive in our hearts. No, they do not breathe like you and me. But present, present in our hearts and landscape they remain. They still exist, because they are still loved and missed by us. Look, look from your heart, and you will see them. Can you see them? MONALISA
The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. HELEN KELLER
I will be returning to Montpellier in May 2013 for more photography.
UNTIL NEXT TIME,