I’ve been continuing with my new project on horses, which has predictably wandered into a thicket of possibilities. I’m confident it will emerge at some point — though I daren’t say when — and when it does, it will necessarily be in some direction or other. Hopefully trailing a series with some coherence.


But at the moment, I’m taking many different kinds of pictures. The very few I’ve put on my web site are a motley and incomplete assortment, determined more by (lack of) time available than anything else. The experience has me thinking about the nature of projects.

Looking at the images afterwards, I can loosely place most of them into a few categories. First are the abstracts, like the one above, which are closest to the original idea stimulated, as described, by some work of Kathe Lesage. Most of these I have handled in my usual toned black and white, but some seem to be interesting with over-saturation of the color, akin to what I’m doing with weathered surfaces in my Patina project, though these colors are darker and less dramatic.


Then there are the portraits, of which the one below is perhaps the most conventional. This is becoming more fun as I get to know the horses individually. I’m not normally trying specifically to capture a portrait, but sometimes they come out that way. Actually, it’s hard to say what precisely constitutes a portrait, something Richard is perhaps also thinking about. I guess my vague working definition is that it should convey something of the personality of the subject(s).


Next come landscapes, i.e. horses as landscape, forms you could imagine traveling over or around. Clearly, there’s an appeal to abstraction here. These tend to be hill forms, but the one below reminds me, especially in color, of the sandstone arches in Utah, for example in Arches National Park.


Finally, when I remain after sunset and the light gets dim, I set my shutter speed as slow as possible (around a second) and take pictures like the one below. This fits into one of my very first series, which, for lack of a more original title, I am calling Ghost Horses.


Sometimes lack of a single direction might be a good thing. This is how, for me, the various ideas swirling around in my own head can meld into a concept or approach that will be thoroughly my own. Not that this work with horses needs to be a single project. Perhaps the different strands I’ve identified will be separable enough as to constitute separate portfolios. Even so, they’ll inevitably inform each other.

Does this evolution of a project sound familiar to you? Or do ideas come to you with such clarity that it only remains to execute them? Perhaps they come in seeming clarity, as in a dream, only to dissolve when you try to express them? And then begins the effort of re-discovery and re-creation?