Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, rural South Oxfordshire, England, UK

My final translation of Together by Laura Barber-Riley for the purposes of Sojie 14…

(( N.B. I have replicated this narrative, with additional photographs to illustrate the story, in a Journal entry here ))

Once again, my participation in a Sojie Workshop has turned into a magical journey, and quite the story…! There was a field with several horses in nearby whom I had already begun visiting sporadically a few months ago, and these were to be my subjects in translating Laura’s beautiful painting. Over the past weeks, I had already taken many of shots of my chosen trio: Paco, Chico and Spirit, but was continuing in my quest for a better shot. This endeavour continued on an almost daily basis to date. When I originally met them, all three were very timid and flighty with me, but over time my connection to them, and to Paco in particular, has grown into a real bond of friendship. I will certainly not be stopping my visits with them now that the project has reached its conclusion.

There have been many times where I have wondered why on earth I hadn’t allowed myself to say that I’d found ‘THE’ shot yet, and how close to the wire I was really going to go with waiting and shooting and waiting and…! Finally, on the very last day I have available to me, I got my answer, and my patience paid off…

But let’s go back a little, so that the story can reveal itself and so that I can explain why working on this project has been so meaningful for me…

Early in the project I met a young lady who had just moved two tiny ponies into the fields where The Lads live, and she had very kindly filled me in on some of the details of the lives of Paco, Chico, Spirit and Paco’s Mother, Polly. This is what I wrote then: “I would LOVE to get a shot of Paco and his mother, Polly, together, but unfortunately they’ve been separated, and the point where they can now meet over a fence is just a bit too far for even my 400mm equivalent zoom lens. Apparently Paco has been with his mum since he was born (in this field) 5 years ago and is a bit of a mummy’s boy, according to Jo…”

SInce then I have visited the fields daily, sometimes twice a day, and the horses have been moved around so that Paco and Polly were even further apart. During my visits Paco and I have become good friends, and despite the physical barriers between us, the barbed wire and gates, we have developed a strong connection to each other.

For various reasons I couldn’t go to see them on Friday, and on and off all day I kept sensing that something was wrong and wondering why I was so preoccupied with the horses. Then, on Saturday morning (STILL wondering why the heck I’m still not decided on a shot) ……………. they were GONE! Polly and Izzy were still in the back field, and there was sweet Robin, all alone, looking awfully doleful :O(

I was very sad (well, very, VERY sad, if I’m honest), but reminded myself that getting attached to other peoples’ horses is a bad idea (!), and that wherever they had been moved to, in all likelihood they’d reappear eventually.

The next day, I went to the fields to see Polly, Izzy and Robin … and The Lads were back! They had obviously been off to visit the farrier, as their hooves were now beautifully manicured. They were delighted to see me across the way, and were galloping about whinnying at me as I made my (long) way around to them. When I finally reached the gate, Paco started licking me and nuzzling me, and when I told him how sad I’d been when I thought he was gone, a big old tear rolled down one cheek. I’m not making this up, honestly, I swear to Life it’s the truth…

I actually thought at this point that the ‘Togetherness’ between the horses that I was originally trying to capture and translate had evolved and changed into a recognition of the bond that had formed between myself and Paco during the past few weeks, and feeling truly moved by recent events I spent some time on what I thought was the last night working a on a shot of him following me along the side of the field, a ditch between us, waiting to be reunited with me, which I was fully intending to post here as my next WIP.

But then, at the eleventh hour, on Monday morning, all the waiting and wondering became crystal clear as I made my way down the footpath to the fields…

(I checked back through my photo library this morning, and I first met Paco in early May of this year, at which time he and his mother Polly were already separated; so, to my knowledge they have been kept apart, and the herd dynamic and order disrupted, for at least 5 months.)

Whilst working on this photographic assignment, I have longed so many times to be able to capture them all together, feeling and seeing their sadness at being kept apart.

So imagine my delight and amazement when, on the very last day available to me, and with the gorgeous Autumn sun lighting up the fields, I found that the owner of the horses had returned them all to one field: ‘Together’ at long last!! They are finally reunited, and I know why I have been waiting and waiting for the ‘right’ moment and the ‘right’ shot :o) How magical is THAT? Paco and Polly were stuck to each other like glue, and in the half hour that I spent there I never saw them more than a couple of feet apart …

They obviously have some serious figuring out to do, the boys having been away from Polly, their Matriarch, and having created a new pecking order based on that – plus the two new ponies, Robin and Izzy, have been added to the mix. As part of this work, none of them was permitted to come to the fence to see me: using her body language (and a couple of well-placed kicks!), Polly kept all of them away, in the middle of the field, and the most Paco, Chico and Spirit could do was to gaze at me from afar as Polly, Izzy and Robin studiously ignored me! But I am sure that once things have settled down, Paco will be permitted to resume hanging out at the fence with me … and if not, at least I know he is happy again with his Mama :o)

I have replicated this narrative, with photographs to illustrate the story, in a Journal entry here

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, 45-200mm lens

An expressionistic, exploratory artist, I create without restraint or intent. I am a passionate advocate of natural learning, and this organic approach informs all of my work, giving my creations their vibrancy and spontaneity. An abiding love of nature keeps me going when my rather warped sense of humour fails. Above all, I reject the dysfunction and pain our culture perpetuates. More of the same is of no interest to me. I say “YES” to that which is life-serving: let a new paradigm emerge!

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  • Susana Weber
    Susana Weberover 3 years ago

    Great story, Jay! Wonderful project… and final shot! :)))))))))))))))

  • Hi Susana :o) Thanks for taking the time to read it – it has been an amazing experience, really full of wonder for me :o) xx

    – Jay Taylor

  • Diane Johnson-Mosley
    Diane Johnson-...over 3 years ago

    Bravo, well done Jay. Such a wonderful journey.

  • Diane, thank you :o) Wonder-full is exactly right :o)

    – Jay Taylor

  • Qnita
    Qnitaover 3 years ago

    Lovely translation!

  • Thank you, Qnita :o)

    – Jay Taylor

  • vertigoimages
    vertigoimagesover 3 years ago

    Jay – what a wonderful story, experience and image :)
    Thank you for sharing such an amazing story!

  • Hey Wendy :o) xx My pleasure!

    – Jay Taylor

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 3 years ago

    Beautiful work, Jay! That “big old tear” part of the story got one rolling down my cheek as well! Such a touching story and a marvelous image!

  • It was quite a moment, AuntDot, that tear … the amazing Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling (whom I also discovered as a part of this Sojie journey) has a very moving video on youtube called Wounded Horses Cant’ Cry … I beg to differ ;o)

    – Jay Taylor

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 3 years ago

  • annihoo
    annihooover 3 years ago

    So very beautiful story, Jay. And many beautiful pictures too, this final is amazing! Thank you so much, what a journey!!

  • Hi Annika – thank you for your kind words – and it is absolutely my pleasure to be able to share this ‘love story’ with you :o) xx

    – Jay Taylor

  • AsEyeSee
    AsEyeSeeover 3 years ago

    Jay, this was wonderful to watch! Thank you for sharing your journey, and allowing us to come along for the ride! (bad pun??!! ) Anyway, this is a stunning interpretation! Fabulous work!! Congraulations.

  • Hi JD :o) I’m so glad to be able to share the story, actually – how many of these magical moments pass unremarked upon, unshared? LOL at the ride – it truly has been a bit of a wild one :o) xx

    – Jay Taylor

  • Beatrice Cloake
    Beatrice Cloakeover 3 years ago

    A lovely shot Jay! Brilliant translation.

  • Thank you so much, Beatrice :o)

    – Jay Taylor

  • Elizabeth Bravo
    Elizabeth Bravoover 3 years ago

    Jay…..I really envy you having been able to spend all that time watching and photographing the horses. This turned out so great. The pair is what relates to the original and you had to work hard at finding that right moment. YOU DID IT!!!! Great job!!! Love the outcome.

  • Awww, thank you Elizabeth – it really was just THE moment, and it came right at the eleventh hour. If I didn’t trust my instincts, I’d have thought I was going crazy – I questioned myself pretty hard, but something just told me to keep going … and as a huge bonus, I have made the most amazing friendships, particularly with Paco, which I fully intend to maintain now that the project is over. Paco and me are soulmates for sure :o)

    – Jay Taylor

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