Now for something completely different from my usual inanimate landscapes. Probably almost every photographer in Montana has done horses at some point. They were actually a major subject of my first photos when I started up with digital photography, and starred in my first self-assigned project (not on the web site; I guess it’s still in progress). But they were eventually neglected as I mostly pursued my long-term interest in landscape and abstraction. Then I saw some postcards of the Horse Nudes portfolio of Kathe Lesage and realized what I’d been missing. Last weekend I had a chance to do something about it.

In fact, horses offer a fabulous opportunity for abstraction, though I’m certainly still learning how to do it in a way that works for me. On the scene, there’s constant movement and no opportunity to contemplatively frame a view. I know better now what it’s like for Doug Plummer photographing his dancers. I aim for things that catch my eye, try to anticipate, take a lot of frames, and edit afterward. This project has virtually my only off-tripod work.

I’m just beginning to think about the shape of this project. Here I show a couple kinds of images that have caught my interest. One involves interaction of the horses with each other, as in the lead-off image where the two are scratching each other; despite appearances, this is definitely not anger or attack.

The other kind is more about interaction with me, and tends to focus on eyes. Even though I don’t offer food, the horses (at least some) like to be petted and scratched, and they nuzzle, nibble, or lick me (especially if I’ve been sweating). There is actually a fence between us, which I’m sorely tempted to cross, but I haven’t yet located the owner and asked permission.

There’s a lot more to be done here, and I’m sure the images will change as the project develops. The ones here represent the only processing I’ve done so far, so I’m just getting to know them (there are almost 300). At the moment, the project feels very exhilarating in its difference from my other ones. It’s so new, I haven’t even formulated questions yet. But I’m very interested in any comments you might have.