The Park Gallery, Callendar House, Callendar Park, Falkirk FK1 1YR
I’ve been photographing the Clydesdales at Flanders Moss, Stirling since 2013. Flanders Moss is a vast wild space of nature reserve and flat farmland close to where I live, and home to a small family of magnificent Clydesdale horses, owned by a local farmer. Creatures of immense power and strength, Clydesdales were first bred in Lanarkshire, Scotland during the early 1800’s, specifically as agricultural and haulage workhorses, and then exported throughout the world.
Having discovered the Clydesdales I was immediately drawn to their beauty and presence as a potential subject, and could see the visual possibilities in documenting some of their story within their exposed environment.
I realised that the series would be a long-term proposition, involving taking the time to get to know the horses, gain their trust and establish a connection. Five years on and I have made countless visits, often just to be with the horses with no attempt made to reach for a camera.
As the series has developed I’ve become interested in creating more abstract and impressionistic images. Working closely with the horses, I’ve begun to play with scale, imagining ‘landscapes within landscapes’, positioning the camera towards seeing the shapes of dark landscapes in the foreground, whilst trying to glimpse more distant horses within these living frames.
I’ve worked using a number of cameras, both film and digital – more often than not with a 50mm lens attached, the ‘standard’ visual tool, which captures the more natural, undistorted image. The use of this lens has necessitated that I move closer to the subject, and has enabled me to make intimate studies that reveal the characters of the Clydesdales and portray what it is like to be right there beside the horse.
Latterly I began shooting double exposures, on film rather than digital photographic processes, this has allowed the story of the Clydesdales to naturally evolve into one where creature becomes landscape.