The practice of expanding my awareness, as encouraged by my interaction with my horses, and developed as my friendship with Dominique strengthened, prepared me to see deeply when I began to photograph in a serious manner. Had I not spent more than a decade engaged in thought, writing, discussion, and living in a manner that facilitated deeper expression, I believe that I could not have become the photographer I am today. Often people ask me what I photograph. I don’t know how to answer that really, but have settled on this: I am an opportunistic photographer. That is, when I see something that has layers of meaning or that I respond to (emotionally, visually, or otherwise) I investigate it photographically. Of course I enjoy putting myself in places that I love, marvelous locations like Italy or France, but also the Arboretum, my home town, Dominique and Debra’s barn. In new or exotic locations my heart is open and I’m visually alive, charged to all that is happening. In familiar locations I am more relaxed and the images have a way of rising up in a gentle manner.
I have lived with, loved, and cared for horses for a very long time. The horse is a creature of Grace. There is an old saying about horses and riders that is roughly “you always get the horse you need”. Because I like to do things full blast, I have had two horses of distinct personalities. My mare, Raschida, was my do-everything girl: fox hunter, trail hack, dressage mount, and teacher for neighborhood children. She insisted that I do everything correctly. If I did not, it was a battle, and one I would never win. So she was a marvelous teacher in that way, though not the easiest mount. She was a gorgeous mare who embodied the Look of Eagles. My job was to take that power and channel it into relaxation and grounded energy. My stallion, Fol Amour, is a refined, elegant monk with the heart of a lion. He waits patiently for me and when I arrive (metaphysically and emotionally) we create magic. If I’m not quite there we have a pleasant ride and he sort of just packs me around. My job is to show up, fully, and allow the sparks to fly. Having the two opposite ends of the spectrum demanded that I put in the “time in the saddle”. Even when I wasn’t riding, I was thinking of calm, centered, flowing strength. This discipline prepared me to develop my photographic ability while accepting the bumps and setbacks as opportunities to learn. Today, when I am not photographing, I am thinking about photography. This enables me to see more deeply and remain creatively inspired.
In the next post I’m going to pull at the threads of Grace and creative inspiration.