Saturday, July 17, 2010

Elder Horse Project - Mary Cornelius

Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. Your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown. ~ Dhammavadaka

Countless times we have seen on the news after a disaster in which people have lost their homes, one of their first reactions after making sure their family members are alright, is to try to retrieve the family photos. Everything else can be replaced, but those photos provide precious memories and historical data for generations to come.

What if those photographs had never been taken in the first place?

As a photographer, I am well aware of how fleeting a moment is. My own life experiences have taught me the lesson of how impermanent all life is. Through the years I have received phone calls with that hopeful tone of voice looking for my help. "We lost our horse and wondered if you had any photographs. They would be really wonderful to have to remember him by." Or "our friends just lost their horse/friend/child etc and we are looking for a photo of them for a memorial in the local equestrian publication. We are hoping that you have one."
Though always saddened by the losses in our midst, I feel some gratification when I can come through with what has now become even more treasured preserved moments doing the important job of memorializing a loved one. I know that once the initial shock of loss has been absorbed, many people are comforted by having images of the one they have lost. I know I am. I think they can be an integral part of the healing process. I am saddened when I sometimes have to say, "No, I am so sorry, I don't have any photos of that particular horse or person and inevitably, I hear "we always meant to get photos done..."

I have long wanted to write something about this subject, but have hesitated for fear that I wouldn't be able to adequately convey that my intentions are not about selling more photos by making people afraid of loss, but being able to simply help if the need should arise. I am committed to being supportive of our equestrian community not only in the good times, but the sad times. I would like for myself and for my fellow photographers to be able to avoid hearing that disappointed sad voice on the other end of the line. I know that I am not the only photographer who would feel good about being able to help.

With that said, I would like to offer my services at no charge to owners of horses 25 years or older. I figure any horse that has lived that long deserves a portrait! I will come to your farm or stable and do a photo session with your senior horse. It can be a formal portraiture session or casual "day in the life" style imagery.
If you are out of the 25 mile radius of Portland, I would ask that my travel costs be covered. (primarily gasoline) Photo prints and digital files will be offered for sale at a 20% discount. The typical farm call session price will be suspended.
Contact me for details. I am eager to get started on this elder equine project this spring. I call it The Elder Project.

More Elder Horse stories and images from Mary's Elder Horse Project are here and here.

Mary Cornelius

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Naughty Bits - Terri Miller

I was taking inventory in my supply closet the other day and came across three rolled up canvasses. It was a triptych, removed from its support stretchers, that I had completed nearly 30 years ago. When I unrolled it, I was transported to my college days at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

For all of senior year, the Fine Art majors were given studio space. We took over several floors of a loft building at 22nd Street and 2nd Ave. Dividers made of plywood, salvaged doors, cabinets and curtains divvied up the space into small rooms that we shared between 2-3 people. Artists walked freely throughout the space. It was communal, bohemian, and for many of us, it was the first time we had the opportunity to create in a space larger than the corner of a bedroom. After three years of dragging art supplies to a variety of classrooms in 4 separate buildings, our instructors came to us, so we were able to work on pieces that were more complex and less portable.

It was New York, and it was the early ’80’s, and no one in that school wanted to see a painting of a horse. While I was already selling commissioned equine portraits, I was always reminded to try something else, to go a step further, in my work at the School. And so I did, in my own way. I chose to do super-sized still lifes of the objects from my horse world: shiny, colorful ribbons and reflective bits and trophies. If you look through my still life galleries, you’ll see that some of these subjects still appeal to me!

This painting, which I dubbed “Naughty Bits” (yes, we were all Monty Python fans at the time), was my final project, and it filled up my entire workspace. It is a triptych, each panel of which is 3′x6′, making up a painting that is a massive 6 feet high by 9 feet wide. I’ve spliced in a photo of myself next to in so you can see how big it is!

Looking at it now, from the perspective of 30 years, I can see what was, and what was to come. I’ve always loved to paint the passionate chaos of silk, and the cool mirroring metal of bits. I can discern the brush marks that would evolve into my present way of covering the canvas. There are the subdued tones that came from striving to avoid what my instructors called “being too decorative”, and the bright, true color that was struggling to come forward.

Terri Miller

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wild Horse Workshop - Kimerlee Curyl

Join award-winning photographers Tony Stromberg & Kimerlee Curyl and renowned wild horse behaviorist Neda DeMayo for a 5 day equine photography workshop to be held at Return to Freedom in southern California. the highly acclaimed American Wild Horse Sanctuary that is home to over 200 rare and beautiful mustangs from all over the US. This a magical week spent with America's Wild Horses. If you ever dreamed of standing in a field with wild horses here is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself into their beauty and capture their spirits, they will capture your hearts.
Return to Freedom is unique, in that the mustangs are segregated to help preserve their rare bloodlines, but are also allowed to live their lives in their natural family communities, roaming free as they would in their natural habitat.

May 16 – 21, 2010
Beginning to Advanced Photographers

Note: the first day is an introduction in the evening from 4 to 7 pm.

Please see the link for details and contact information.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Latest Artworks on Canvas - Mary Cornelius

This past Christmas I was commissioned to do a montage of a horse and rider in a leg yield series as a gift. I had photographed this pair, Rheining Scholar and Mary Arnold last spring at the Heart of the Valley Dressage show. The sequence of images fit together well for some fun ideas in collaboration with the mare's owner Gayle Atkins.
Mary and Gayle each have a large mounted canvas print of this image hanging in their homes.
I've had a soft spot for this mare, so it was a particularly fun project to work on. It is a great example of what can be done with horse show photos to make them an extra special piece of art to hang in your home or give as a gift. The canvas treatment on images such as these is absolutely beautiful and the ready to hang gallery wrap framing is nothing short of professional from my supplier to your door.

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The boarders and staff presented this montage image on canvas of Oniris at Play to the Dussins, owners of Tanz-Pferde at their annual Christmas party.
This image is available as a 24x36 canvas, gallery wrapped and mounted for hanging at the Canvas Gallery

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Introducing my newest image for canvas. My photograph of this beautiful Andalusian took on a heavenly quality as I worked on it. So, since I am really bad at attaching titles or names to finished images, I just call it Heavenly.

This image is also available as an 11x14 or 16x20 canvas at the Canvas Gallery.

Mary Cornelius

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ex Arte Equinius III

Vision 18 Collective member and artist, Kim Vickrey recently won several awards in the Ex Arte Equinus III Equine Art competition. Her work "Equestrian Angel" was awarded 1st Place in Photography by Juror Susan Friedman. Susan said of Kim's print, "Out of all the entries this piece stood out, here in one frame Equestrian Angel captures perfectly the enchantment of imagination of myth in relationship to the horse. There is always something evocative and mysterious about a good photograph and this image using selective focus stands out as a wonderful embodiment of all the criteria I was asked to consider. This photograph portrays the archetype of the angel and the horse and captures the spirit of the subject beautifully. The horse, the wings, the beach and the lighting all work together to create an evocative image. Bravo!!!"

In addition to the photography group, Kim's piece's "Concerto in the Sun" and "Carousel des Chevaux" placed 3rd and 5th consecutively in the Digital Media competition by juror Diana Allison.

There were over 1000 individual pieces entered in this year's competition with an impressive list of nationality's represented. The accepted work will be posted on the Art Horse Magazine website by January 2010, with the Magazine and book being released in March 2010.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving Permission for use Forever, Even Without Winning - Lynne Glazer

I'm seeing it all the time, from equine magazines to commercial horse product manufacturers: prizes offered for entering their photo contest. The latest is from Troxel, the helmet people. Offering about $250 in prizes of a helmet/vest/carry bag for the first place, helmets for 2-5th. Everyone who enters has given the rights to have their photo used in perpetuity for any use Troxel deems useful, without any further compensation, credit, etc. Troxel thought it worthwhile enough to fill out a contact form on my website, inviting me to submit, just so you don't think I'm particularly picking on them. Dover Saddlery is another who recently did one of these contest aka image grabs.

Companies use these user-provided photos for their image libraries. They don't want to pay professional photographers for their stock images, why should they when they can get "just as good" images for free? Whether web-res or print-resolution, this is just wrong. Sometimes it's just the legal department going "over the top", and when questioned, sometimes companies will revise their Terms and Conditions. Don't enter without reading the T&Cs, or you'll deserve what you get. Click to read more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Terri Miller wins the World Cup Photo Contest

Dressage Dream

Terri Miller Wins the Third Offield Farms Shoot to Win Photo Contest

Harbor Springs, MIWorld-renowned equine photographer Terri Miller was chosen as the winner of the third Offield Farms Shoot to Win Photo Contest held at the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. Miller’s winning photo, titled “Dressage Dream”, of Elizabeth Ball on Iris Eckstein’s Orion, was selected from dozens of photos submitted. The panel of judges was charged with the task of identifying an image that best captured the excitement of dressage and Miller’s photo was determined to best meet the criteria of the contest.

“Our third photo contest was difficult to judge,” explained Karin Reid Offield, who created and has sponsored the World Cup Dressage Finals Shoot to Win Photo Contest for the past three World Cup Finals held in the United States. “It was important that the winning photo showcase the excitement and energy of our sport. I had hoped that I would find a photograph that captured the audience’s moment of excitement during Steffen’s wonderful rides, as the creative banners and American flags showed the spectators’ enthusiasm. However, when I saw Terri’s photo I thought, ‘Wow, now there is a shot!’”

For Offield, Miller’s photo, “had an advantage of being taken in a spot where no one else had ever been. That’s really the goal of the contest—showcasing images that break free from the norm and deliver the excitement of dressage. We wanted an image that makes people stop and stare. Terri’s photograph does that for me and it’s worthy of a magazine cover. Congratulations to Terri and all of the photographers that entered our contest.”

Terri Miller, of Lake San Marcos, California, commented, “ I am thrilled to have won the Offield Farms World Cup photo contest, especially with this particular photo.” “Dressage Dream” was taken during the pas de deux competition held during the World Cup Finals. Ball and Orion were paired with Olympic medalist Guenter Seidel on Marie Meyer’s Fandango. The duo rode a costumed Phantom of the Opera piece that brought the house down.

“I have always loved the vantage point of being up high, whether in a tree, helicopter, or in this instance, in my ‘secret aerie’ at the Thomas & Mack Arena,” Miller explained. “This was the very last shot that I got of Beth and Orion as they rode out of the arena with their ribbons. I just loved the gestural feeling of the moment, from Orion’s pointed ears and softly reaching leg, to Beth’s rustling dress, flying hair and the sweep of her arm with her rose corsage. I chose to treat this image as an art piece, rather than a straight photograph because the entire performance felt dreamy and surreal. Hence my choice of the blue tones and the edges that fade to a soft-focus black.”

For her efforts Miller received $500 in prize money, along with a matching $500 donation to the equine charity of her choosing, the Monterey Horse Park in California. She explained her choice, “ I chose the Monterey Horse Park because in general we’re losing so much land to development, and as riders we’re losing access to so much recreational land. This is a great chance to not only save a little piece [of land] for equine use, but also to create a world class show facility as well.”

This is Miller’s second Shoot to Win victory; she claimed the inaugural prize in 2005. Her photos and painting have graced the covers of dozens of magazines, calendars and catalogs. Her work is frequently juried into museums, galleries and exhibitions, including the 2009 American Academy of Equine Art show at the Museum of the Horse. A graduate of New York’s acclaimed School of Visual Arts, Miller sees through the lens with the eyes of a painter. As a student of equine movement, Miller has a keen eye for finding the very best moments of energy, harmony and brilliance.

“Terri’s photo is amazing, but a visit to our website shows that the judges had their work cut out for them in choosing the winning entry,” Offield stated. “I want to thank all the photographers that took the time to enter this year. It is appreciated and fun. “ To view the winning photograph and a gallery of many other entries, visit To learn more about Miller’s equine charity of choice, log on to

About Offield Farms

Offield Farms’ mission is to serve as a significant catalyst for the advancement and promotion of the sport of dressage through special events, educational programs, corporate entertainment, media projects and through personal interaction between horse lovers and horses. Visit now combined with for more information about dressage, Lingh and the passion for our sport.