I’ve been watching the show The Mind of A Chef. Over the course of a season, about 8 episodes are dedicated to an in-depth, first-person, look into one of the pre-eminent current chefs-restaurantuer. These are chefs in the prime of their careers and each has an extraordinary focus and command on the detail and food experience. And although they have all found their unique expression through their unique food, the shows also document their thrill and joy in sharing other food experiences of both high and low food.
I thought about these chef’s ability to think beyond their focus and to appreciate other perspectives, as I prepared these three images for the Ojai Arts Center in 2017 Photography Brach exhibit this June. Each year the Ojai Photography branch hosts a month-long juried show. The shows are always themed and the themes are often conceptual and artists are encouraged think openly about their interpretation of the theme.
This year’s theme is The Animal Kingdom, which seemed straight forward enough even for a street photographer like myself. Then I read the fine print. The emphasis this year is to pay homage and honor the animal kingdom during this time of ecologic uncertainty. Now I had a bit more of a challenge since most of my images of the animal kingdom show man’s domination over animals: dog shows, tagged cattle grazing on the side of the road, or giant swan-shaped boats on a lake.
Then I remembered a set of images that I took of three great Lusitano show horses being allowed to run off some energy and show their grace and power in a barn in Portugal. These horses were magnificent and, being a street photographer, I had to really put my thinking hat on in order to capture their magnificence with my limited horse-photography skills. What I arrived at was a series of abstracts. However, these images have sat dormant on my hard-drive as I never quite found a venue to show them off. Now, at last I have an opportunity to honor these horses and their trainer, Carlos Oliveira, who tragically passed in 2016.