In 1851, Russell’s 16 year old great grandfather, James Harwood, sailed to America from England alone. Soon after he arrived in New Orleans, the city flooded and cholera swept the area. He waded through waist-deep water as he began his trek to Saint Louis. For a time, he woked there as a harness maker; and then in 1853 he joined an expedition heading west to settle the Lehi Valley in Utah. As we travel similar roads, we often think about his brave overland journey. The courage of this young adventurer is almost incomprehensible to us.
Recently, as part of our on-going study of Harwood’s pioneer experience, we spent time photographing buffalo. In the presence of these beasts, we could almost imagine what young James felt when he finally reached the plains and saw herds of buffalo for the first time. This bull in particular gave us chills with his fierce stance and mighty roar. It’s no wonder the bison has become the symbol of the western pioneer.
A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves — strong, powerful, beautiful — and it has the capability of giving us
escape from our mundane existence.
~ Pam Brown, Equestrienne Poet
The purest of protectors, this noble stallion placed himself between us and his herd as we approached their hill. He remained still - quietly watchful - and only after he determined that we were not a threat did he step aside to let us meet his band of wild mustangs. That moment of acknowledgement and acceptance by a creature of such dignified strength held tremendous significance for us. His guardianship of the herd embodied the courage of the people in our lives we admire most - those who stand resolutely to protect their family, friends, beliefs and values. This image is our tribute to them.
Russell’s father was a columnist who covered horse racing for the Miami News for more than 30 years, so it’s no wonder that Russell finds himself drawn to the rolling hills and horse farms of Kentucky. Just outside Lexington on an overcast summer day, we came across these two gentle souls. As we wandered and watched, they stayed close to one another nickering and nuzzling from time to time. Then the stars aligned to give us that once-in-a-lifetime image. We were in the right place with camera ready when they lowered their heads and brought them together in a heart- like pose of absolute tenderness. For one incredible moment, the world was just us and these magical Bluegrass Beauties.
Life Of Clydesdales
To commemorate the repeal of prohibition, the Busch family acquired a six-horse Clydesdale hitch and sent a second team to New York for a parade to mark the historic event and show appreciation to the governor for his anti-prohibition efforts. The parade drew thousands of people and an icon was born. The playful, powerful Clydesdales in this triptych reside at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, and we love visiting them every time we pass through that area.
Legends Of Cumberland Island
In the late 1600s, Cumberland Island was homea small community that included original inhabitants and recently arrived Spanish priests. In time, the island became a fort, a cotton plantation and a playground for the Carnegie family. Through it all, there have been horses. Sometimes they were corralled but often they lived free and feral. While the people and their purposes for the island have changed, the horses have been constant. Hidden by the low hanging Spanish moss, running along the beaches or moving quietly among the ruins of the Dungeness mansion. This is - and always has been - their island.
By chance, we happened upon this happy heard late one afternoon. We worked fast to get a few shots and left this lilvely scene hoping we had captured something special - but with no way of knowing if it was a hit or a miss. Then, in the darkroom, we were rewarded with this SPARK - this excitement - when we realized we had indeed captured something special. For us, discovering that we’d caught an instant that passed too quickly for the eye to really see gave us the exilerating jolt that keeps us coming back to film. Coming Home doesn’t just describe the laughing queen of this herd as she leads her gals in for the night - it also describes the way we feel every time we step in the darkroom.
Lone Star Longhorns
While exploring near Albany, Texas, we came across Fort Griffin and had an opportunity to learn about and photograph these handsome longhorns. It turns out that (as noted by the star-shaped brandmark) we had stumbled across the official herd of Texas. To preserve the breed and honor the role they have played in the state’s history, this herd is well-protected and cared for quite a bit more luxuriously than their ancestors! They’ve definitely earned their celebrated status, though. Over the course of hundreds of years, wild herds were hunted, herded and groomed into a thriving industry. Perhaps best of all - they are credited with creating the beloved hero of the West, the Cowboy.
One of the most special people in Angela’s life is her nephew, Collin. He was the first baby of the next generation; and watching his personality take shape has been a great delight. He is a sweet, thoughtful boy with a kind and generous heart. He looks after his grandmother with much tenderness, is infinitely patient with his young cousin when she follows him around and has become quite an avid fisherman. Angela especially enjoys his British quips about feeling ‘peckish’ and his willingness to bow and refer to her as ‘her majesty!’ Above all though, from the time he was very young, Collin has loved cows. As Russell and Angela travel, they always think of Collin when they photograph cattle, and since he identified these for them (they are Black Baldy cows) they decided this image should be named in Collin’s honor!
Sometimes we fall in love with a picture and introduce to the public and the public says, "meh." It's always educational - even if it stings a bit. In this case, we were very excited about a fun new picture. Like any other tourists, we were completely delighted by California's Sea Lions. As devoted pug owners, they reminded us of our silly, lazy, food-motivated (somewhat smelly) companions. So we proudly introduced this fine picture to attendees at the La Quinta Arts Festival in La Quinta, California - and they hated it. It turns out that the locals were not charmed by these goofy creatures. They were annoyed that the loud stinky beasts were taking over their beaches, piers and favorite restaurants. Although we took the photo down and hung a different one its place for the duration of the show, this does actually remain one of our favorite pictures. The relationship between humans and our animal friends is complicated, to say the least. Skirmishes over habitat and species protection can become quite contentious. We certainly heard plenty of grumbling in our booth that weekend. Which struck us as a bit funny... and led us to give this piece a rather cheeky name. You see, a group of pugs is called... a grumble!
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