Photography “In the Zone”

(This is an article written by Susan but never published, nor finished, that appears to be in answer to the question: “What is your favorite photo that you’ve taken?”. We aren’t sure exactly which photo she is talking about, probably several, but we do have this one whose name happens to include “Lagartijo” and seems to be the image she’s describing.)

A few of these pictures were taken in California (at the seaside), and one – the swinging mane – was taken at an Andalusian breeding farm in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in 1985.

However, most of these pictures are of the Andalusian stallion Lagartijo, the model name of a type of Lamborghini. He lives at Rancho La Loma, and it’s been my privilege to have two photo sessions with him recently. His movement shows pizzazz, moxy, attitude, power and spirit. Then, too, he’s beautiful just standing and posing, showing off the high style of the vehicle he is. Although he’s looking very sweet in this picture, his whiskers grab the attention.

Lagartijo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 1985

Lagartijo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 1985

Horses express themselves with the arch of the neck, the flick of an ear and twists of the body. All the time he was moving, he was also asking, “How does this look? Do you like it? Am I perfect? Aren’t I magnificent?” A unique stallion, to say the least, and one I’m proud to know.

He also gave me ideas, new angles to shoot. I am usually squatting during the shoot, and he frequently ran up to me while I was low to the ground, stopped, sniffed the lens, then turned and ran away. He did this a number of times during the January shoot, as if saying, “Come on! Take this shot. It’s my best angle.”  Hence, the tail shots.

He loved tossing his head, so one of the pictures is of him tossing his head – twice in the same picture.

Lagartijo presented himself for an old time, somewhat fading photo, too. Moving around the ring, you can see that he still has his head turned towards me. He is quite vain. It’s natural; all stallions are, even those who live out in the wild.

Being saucy in the ring and tossing his head made his mane and forelock dance ahead of him. He looks very powerful here.

One morning, his mane was in dreadlocks. The curves in the wavy mane and in the solid neck speak of texture and diagonal movement, combined to create an interesting flow of lines.

Different treatments in the printing process create different moods. The grainy look makes the mood soft and tranquil, while a straight print shows us the way the stallion is, all power made up of well-defined bone and muscle.

Totally focused on me as he circles the ring, his expression is alert, intelligent and completely engaging. Just a hair’s breadth from smiling, even, and I’m loving every moment of it. We have bonded.

It’s not possible to state that one picture or another is my favorite, because it changes from one day to the next. However, the one that comes up as “favorite” the most frequently is the Stone Wall. The tousled mane, brilliant eye and flared nostrils come to life and demonstrate what I love about photographing horses.

Thank you, Lagartijo. It’s been a pleasure “shooting” you.

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