Recently, I negotiated a most difficult photo shoot request.
Not difficult because it will be a technical challenge, and not because of time, distance, cost or effort.
The subject of this particular photo project is a horse I’ll call “Daisy”. I’ve photographed literally thousands of horses in all kinds of venues and circumstances. Some I’ve known very well, and some whose names I can’t remember or never knew.
But this project is chewing on me a little. You see, this particular horse is old, and perhaps starting to feel her age. Or maybe with winter coming, the owner is starting to feel a certain urgency.
Any of us who live with elderly pets, go through a similar thing every fall – we wonder if one more cold winter is asking too much. We look into their eyes every day to see if their light is fading. I know with horses, we hang around a little while longer after feeding them, maybe to give them a little extra attention, a special treat or a whisper in their ear to tell them thank you. And we wonder again and again…. is it time?
This shoot is for a photo montage set to music. I’ve done many of these, (they are a lot of fun), usually for horse sales videos or to capture special events. In this case, I’ve been asked to take a series of photographs covering the course of winter and into spring. I was told that spring is Daisy’s favourite time of the year and the owner wants to capture her final celebration of the changing seasons. It’s quite probable that this will be Daisy’s last winter.
Over the next few months, and as spring arrives, I’ll be capturing new photographs and video of Daisy and digitally scanning photos the owner has of her going back to when she was a foal. At the end, I’ll produce a photo and video montage using a special song the owner has selected. The result will be a celebration of Daisy’s life, captured for eternity and will be viewed hundreds of times by those who love her.
Memories stored in our heads tend to fade over time. This was an amazing request from an amazing owner. I have a couple of aging horses and dogs in my family too. So while I work on this very special “Daisy Project” over the winter and into spring, I will be taking photos of them.
So, the difficult part won’t be capturing who Daisy is, or who Daisy was, it won’t be trudging out to a field with a camera in the dead of winter at sunset to find her, it won’t be in the careful selection of photos, and the editing to music – the difficulty will be that every time I hit the shutter I’ll wish I had more photos of every animal friend I’ve ever had in MY life over the years. The joy for me in this project will be that I will get to know Daisy and capture her heart in my images.
To illustrate my point, I’ve not uploaded any photos in this blog post. Don’t let your memories be just words on a page. Time will pass, and winter’s coming.
Wow, what an exciting and emotional project. The flood of memories that go along with that project could be quite overwhelming. I recently started going through the attic of my parents, now my house, and finding thousands of old photos from my childhood. Seeing the animals that we had over the years, remembering their names and personalities. I look forward to following the progress and reading your thoughts.
Tom von Kapherr
That is so amazing, Tom! What great memories. You are very lucky. Alas, I come from a divorced home and the old films and photos my parents once had have long since gone.