In the isolated, surreal landscape of Camargue in the South of France, an ancient breed of horses reigns over the land. Recognizable by their chiseled musculature and dark, expressive eyes, there is a powerful, mysterious spirit radiating from these animals.
This feeling of being in the presence of something truly unique is furthered by their all-white coats, a signature trait of the breed that gives them the appearance of having been forged from the muted, off-white colors of their misty, mysterious home.
In my series featuring these ethereal creatures, I wanted to share their striking physical characteristics but also their preternatural existence. So, I set out to create portraits of the Camargue horses that embodied their history, beauty, and wildness within every photograph I took.
As I waded into the knee-high marsh, I set up as low to the water as I possibly could. This vantage point, one that I return to again and again because of its ability to celebrate the subject, enhances the majesty and power of the moment. It also allows viewers to feel as if we are peering in on these animals as an unobtrusive, invisible part of the scene.
I specifically love this image because it shows the hierarchy that emerges in bands of horses. As these three animals galloped towards me, the alpha surged ahead of the band to guide them on their journey.
There are several elements that I feel contribute to the success of this image. At first glance, the horse in the front immediately greets you, creating a balanced frame as his companions fade into the distance behind him. Meanwhile, the cloud cover provides a muted canvas with no distractions, drawing your attention to the intensity of the moment. The spray that dominates the lower half of the image, forever frozen in time by my camera, adds intrigue and texture to the composition.
To me, this image is a singular portrait of the rebellious, untamed spirit of the horses of Camargue revealed through this particularly extraordinary moment in time. Even now, years later, when I close my eyes I can still vividly recall the thunderous sound of their hooves racing toward me.