Just received a note from Australia’s most noted thoroughbred photographer, Bronwen Healy, about the time she spent with one of her great equine loves, Nelly, aka Black Caviar. Bronwen’s note prompted an immediate response here on THE VAULT to let all Nelly fans worldwide know that there are brand new photo essays (4, in fact) of this wonderful “pony” (as Bronwen calls her) posted on The Image Is Everything.
I first discovered Bronwen Healy’s photography many years ago now, through the auspices of the worldwide web. Of course, in those days, yours truly was too shy to even contemplate writing Ms. Healy to say how much I thought of her photography. But I have been an ardent fan for at least a decade.
What you learn from a photographer with an artist’s eye, like Bronwen Healy or Lydia A. Williams or Barbara Livingston or Michael Burns, is difficult to describe in words. But let me try. The first thing I learned is that, just like a painter or a sculptor or anyone involved in The Arts, photographers have what we call today “a signature” that identifies their work.
In Bronwen’s case, that signature — at least for me — has to do with her understanding of the uses of light, coupled with a desire to get “under the surface” of the thoroughbreds she represents through the lens. In the latter case, Bronwen’s work situates her viewer in a visual landscape that creates an intimate association with the image: we become Peter Moody or Nelly’s beloved caretaker, Zach Ianson. We become people who know Black Caviar in a way that even the most skilled sports commentator would be at a loss to replicate. Such is the language of the image — and the art of Bronwen Healy.
As I said, it was her use of light that brought me back to Bronwen’s website again and again. I would sit for as long as 20 minutes looking at a single photograph and marvelling over the light that not only backgrounded her subjects but permeated them, so that every detail — whether on a horse’s brow or through the slope of a muscled shoulder — played a distinct and distinctive role in the whole of the composition. These are photographs that go beyond simply capturing a memory. They are tapestries of colour, texture, light and perspective.
Just to tantalize you, below are thumbnails of each of Bronwen’s journal entries, together with one of an outstanding series of photos. Just follow the link provided by copying and pasting into your browser, or go to http://bronwenhealyphotography.blogspot.com and use the menu.
So please join THE VAULT as we celebrate the artistry of Bronwen Healy by entering her world, a magical place where a lens becomes the voice of Black Caviar and the many other thoroughbreds that Bronwen has photographed throughout her career.
ENTRY #1: “BLACK CAVIAR: HAILING THE QUEEN”
ENTRY #2: SEEING THE SUNRISE WITH NELLY
ENTRY #3: BEACH DAYS WITH BLACK CAVIAR
ENTRY #4: THE RETURN OF THE QUEEN
To see more of Bronwen Healy’s photography, you are invited to check out her website at: http://www.bronwenhealy.com.au/