For millennia, mankind’s consistent portrayal of animals in art is a testament to the importance of our connection with the animal kingdom. Man not only depicted but personified animals through art – from cave drawings to paintings and later, photography – we began to see human emotions in all manner of sentient creatures, enabling us to relate to animals on a deeper and more emotional level.
Horses enrich our lives in more ways than can be imagined and yet they seek for nothing. Their intuition and sentience is underestimated as is the diversity of the species. Astrid Harrisson is a photographer who has been captivated by the story of the horse and has sought to explore the threads of history by meeting and documenting some of the world's rarest and most important breeds.
The powerful rhythm of Astrid's works mimics an understanding for the relevance of the stories in today's society and through the combined use of digital photography and graphic illustration, Astrid creates photographic prints that are, more often than not, stylized, contemporary pieces of art.
Devoted to a career in close proximity to the horse and the wild, Astrid is as much at home on a ranch as she is cruising coastlines of Northern Iceland or celebrating fiestas in rural Spain. From the foothills of the Andes to the plains of America's Wild West and the remotest mountains of Mongolia, Astrid traverses the globe in a bid to understand more about horses and their magnificent native territories. Astrid shares her discoveries through her documentations, some of which can be found in her book The Majesty of the Horse, a collaboration with renowned British author Tamsin Pickeral, published in the UK by Harper Collins, 2012.
“I see my work as a photographer and artist as relevant in today’s animal kingdom. I see the need to elicit emotion within mankind by drawing them into my images where they can begin to understand the intelligent emotions of animals and how critical it is that we, as humans, understand this and that this knowledge spreads so that they might have a better future.
My portraits are largely dynamic, realistic representations of animals – in particular, horses. I work intimately, taking the time to build a rapport with my subjects. In the wild this is less possible, but understanding that the animals I am photographing will be aware of my presence and fully assertive is in itself of relevance and a relationship that defines the final portrait I create. A portrait is, by definition, a collaboration between subject and artist and the resulting piece is a represention of sentience, of beauty, of power, of history. I want to give animals the opportunity to share their stories; to connect unknowingly with global audiences where the language of images provides no barrier and thus help to conserve and preserve the sentient souls of the animal kingdom.”
This behind the scenes video was compiled and edited by Robin Sarmento of Being There Photos. It shares a glimpse of the making of Internationally published "The Majesty of the Horse" and it was honoured with an award at the annual Equus Film Festival in 2016. © 2019 Being There Photos. All rights reserved.