Tim Flach’s view



”When I made my Equus book I decided I’d rather look at the horse than the culture around it, the people elements which are a totally different matter. Though the different breeds of the horse have become cultures in the sense that we shaped them.

We were quite responsible for why we’ve got a chihuahua and a Great Dane and like we speak of genetics, we do shape the form of the horse according to the functions we need them for. Those who did not suit us like the Przewalskis were pushed away to the Gobi desert. Even the wild mustangs are managed in some way. When they capture them they will release stallions that they want to breed and cull others that are less commercially of interest. When I went to the round ups they put back stallions with nice colour marks. The dish of the Egyptian halter has become more exaggerated.

In the Haflinger story, I went to were the best breeding place.  They were quite dark over a hundred years ago and now theyre quite pale because they’re breeding them for aestetics rather than for function.

They are still very effective for the mountains, but more to take a tourist up to the mountain than work for a farmer. So my images show how the horse was desired in 2007. In another 50 years it may have moved on again.


“We do shape the form of the horse according to the functions we need them for. Those who didn’t suit us like the Przewalskis were pushed away to the Gobi desert.” 


I felt the horse was so deeply rooted in our country that I wanted to explore it. Once you start such a journey you trip over things that are interesting. So the question was who would represent the different types of horses and their roles. As a progenitive to a lot of breeds was the Arabs, so I’d start there, and that gave me a lot of opportunities but I also wanted a general overview and represent certain areas.

I was playing it by inquiery of what people would tell me and some of it was led by an overview.

In the Emirates, I tried to cover all the areas that I thought would represent the Arabian horse. I wanted to go back to where the horse came from, rather than photograph it in Poland or Sweden, though, ironically, the bloodlines have come back  recently from Europe.

The way the horse was formed by the desert, its hooves..I wanted to show that and it felt right.

I wouldn’t photograph a poor Shetland pony in a hot climate  where they have all sorts of challenges given their double coats.”




”One of the roles of photography should be to extend the experiences around the subject matter. That could be several different respects. It could just be geographical. Who would go to Shetland to see the pony, or who would go to Norway and see a fjord horse? So that is one thing; to show evidence of the landscape that molded the shape of those breeds.

The other thing is sometimes to show details that you couldn’t normally observe –  catch a movement to suspend a moment in time. It might be looking at a horse shaking and the way the hair moves. It could be a horse jump  – or in the case of the Arab going down the track, you can observe the way the bit is in the mouth. Certain details because it is captured.

But it is also the idea of the stylization. I’m not trying to compete with event photography but to shift the experience which, ironically, because it is shifting away from the familiar, engages you.

So photography’s role should be to engage the viewer by fragmenting a moment of the time or simply the detail that can be brought through.”


Horse Tongue



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