It has become commonplace to be asked how I started photography, but rarely do I get asked why. The complexities in the question perhaps feel less warranted to the questioner, but the answer exists in a realm of great simplicity. The truth of the matter is I began taking pictures out of expression.
I wanted to show others what I saw in the world, and the better I shot, the more accurately they would see my vision. The thought of creating what my eye saw began to lend its hand to what my mind pictured. Lighting created more emotion, and began to identify a separation between reality and creativity. Subjects of my images were seen more subjectively and perfection hid around every corner.
So when a recent call came to photograph a girl and her horse with simplicity and beauty, I jumped at it. For me it was more than another campaign, it was a vacation from large sets with a ton of lights and packs, someone to take lunch orders and another person to pick it up. The photograph was an opportunity of pure expression, to show a relationship of calmness between a girl and her horse.
Lighting was simple, just one light and the sunset that Arizona would offer us that day. There weren’t models or props, or even a stylist, this shot was real. I had my assistant with a Photoflex Triton on a boom chasing (or attempt to chase) the horse and girl as they rode around. The shot we produced was great, but lacked the peace and tranquility that I wanted (however it did make for a funny behind the scenes image).
Unfortunately, the image felt forced and lacked reality and compassion. Often a photographer looks so hard for a shot that they miss life that is happening around them, this was a trap that I was walking into. Then I remembered my roots existed in the idea that I would show those around me what I saw rather than what I created. The truth of the matter was I saw a girl and her horse. She talked to it like it understood her and identified it as her friend. It was in the softness of this moment that life presented itself to me. I had been foolish to believe that the relationship of a horse and its rider only existed when they’re going somewhere.