America's Next Top Horse Model

America's Next Top Horse Model

I’ve often hear the term “pretty horses,” but this is taking it to a whole new level. It seems that photographer Julian Wolkenstein and his buddy were horsing around one day and decided to take some photos of horses with big hairstyles. The photos were taken for fun and perhaps not surprisingly the 'pony pin ups' became a huge internet hit. The horses were not an overnight sensation though as the photos were taken three years ago in England. However, over the years, people have started to find them. While the photographs might seem like a publicity stunt, Julian is adamant that the experiment was designed as a way for him to get back in touch with the creative process of photography. His sentiments will be familiar to any over-worked photographer who may feel that they have sacrificed their artistic integrity in order to pay the bills. It is a compromise that many professional photographers make, and often means that the fun is lost, as photo sessions become more like 'work'. The 'mane event' took some work, with 'mane and make-up' taking up to four hours per hours, as Wolkenstein gave the mares hair extensions to exaggerate the photos. A makeup expert carefully and painstakingly completed the weaves they were looking for, although occasionally everything came undone if a horse decided to give his head a shake at the wrong moment. Wolkenstein also found that some horses were scared of the camera lighting, so they had to find horse models who were used to working with cameras. After the before-and-after shots were posted online, Wolkenstein suddenly received several requests from commercial clients who were interested in using the photos for various advertising campaigns. However, he didn’t accept any of the offers as he was aware that the reason he took the photos in the first place was to remind himself he became a photographer because he enjoyed forming and producing his own images. He feels that much of the joy is sucked out of photography when we focus more on the money that it brings in, rather than the process. Wolkenstein said the whole process was done for fun and as a labor of love. He added that everyone involved put a lot of time and effort into it under often difficult conditions and said he was happy just to let people enjoy the results of everybody’s efforts. And of course he didn’t forget to thank the horses as well. You can view a video of Julian talking on the Today show about what inspired him to do the shoot. Photographing just 'for fun' is vital to keep your creative juices flowing, and to avoid burn out. If you can't remember the last time you did some photography just for photography's sake, and not to satisfy a client, perhaps it is time to schedule a day to get back in touch with your artistic side and remember what it is that you love about the art form.