Posts Tagged ‘barbara livingston’

Photographer extraordinaire, LAW, together with the Maryland Thoroughbred Association, gave me the quote that opens a fan’s eulogy to a horse who captured the heart and spoke to the soul.


Very late last night I caught the first, eloquent note that something was terribly wrong: Barbara Livingston had posted one of her photos of Cigar and typed in Tom Durkin’s historic call at the BC Classic (as heard above on the tape):

…The Incomparable … Invincible … Unbeatable CIGAR…

And I knew that Cigar was gone.

The thought of a world without him was inconceivable, as it was for the many who voiced prayers and trepidation on social media. Others were trawling the internet frantically, looking for some kind of confirmation. After all, the web has dispatched many who turned out to be alive and healthy.

Jerry Bailey said that on one of his rides on Cigar during that wondrous, undefeated season, he urged him to go and Cigar rolled his eye around at Bailey as though to say, “I know — just sit there and shut up.” It made me laugh then and it makes me smile today because that was as much Cigar as all the rest — his explosive charge to the front in what always looked, somehow, like a giant, equine shrug, or his bows to the crowd at Kentucky Horse Park in retirement, or the power within those muscles and sinews that made Cigar tower over other thoroughbreds, even in the walking ring.

Cigar at nineteen, giving his characteristic bow to spectators.

Cigar at nineteen, giving his characteristic bow to spectators.

When a thoroughbred captures your imagination, it’s deeply personal … the way a painting communes with a viewer, coming alive on your retina to open a surge of human feeling. And Cigar was one of those flesh-and-blood masterpieces that left no heart untouched, no soul ambivalent. Burning under that dark coat and kind eye were generations of blooded horses who had conspired to bring him to us. In the eyes that looked away and through you was something delicate, divine and unspeakable.

A Blood Moon Eclipse pulsed in the heavens last night, clothed in the hues of the Heart. Let it be your banner, embracing those who knew you best and loved you from afar.


bloodmoon eclipse


Shine on, Cigar.

Shine on.

CIGAR dies on Oct 7 2014_BzbR_MOCUAEaALo.jpg-large



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 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. 



Black Caviar and her fans -- there to celebrate her 17th victory!



Bronwen Healy shooting Nelly at sunrise.



...and I love it!!!!



Black Caviar winning her unofficial trial at Caulfield, January 17, 2012

To see more of Bronwen Healy’s photography, you are invited to check out her website at: http://www.bronwenhealy.com.au/

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