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