Equine Noir

I moved to Santa Fe two years ago to bring horses into my life, something impossible to do in Venice, CA. 

We found the right horses, brought them home in October and I was able to begin a close relationship with two beautiful beings.  As I observed them Illuminated by the amazing New Mexican light, I became inspired to capture their calm energy and inner peace in my care.  

I am known for my noir photography and my best work has employed chiaroscuro lighting.  I allowed the setting sun to assist me in creating the lighting I love best.  Ruth Bernhard nudes have always informed my own nudes and I looked back to hers and my early portraiture.   Then taking the concept one step further, I had the horses run by my camera while I froze them into a dynamic compositions.

I like simplicity and did not want the less than beautiful paddocks to distract from the emotion of the portrait, so I extracted the horses digitally and placed them against black. A tedious and time consuming process to especially get the tail and mane believable.

I learned of a new non profit organization here in Santa Fe that specializes in historic processes and we experimented with palladium printing.  The images will all be produced by a master as Palladium prints , 22” x 28” on the best water color papers available.

Horses have a great purpose to modern society.  Equine therapy has helped countless vets with PTSD, children with autism, the physically handicapped and the emotionally, sexually abused.  Most of the horses I have photographed are older rescues, saved from kill pens. I am hoping  that my portraits will promote the importance of these animals and their right to enjoy respectful lives.

Helen K. Garber

fine art photography