Friday, November 16, 2007

Fathers and Sons

This is a particularly famous image in the Arabian world. A older stallion to the left, Ferzon, touching noses with his very accomplished son, Gai Parada to the right. Once you start scrutinizing details of the face, you can start to see differences between them; it's not an exact mirror image. But it is a graceful image.

Some years later the son from the picture above, Gai Parada, was photographed meeting his son, Gai Radiant. (Gai Radiant is on the left. Grey horses are born dark and "grey out" over time until they are white. So the less white horse is going to be a younger horse, even if you don't recognize Gai Parada from above.)

Same pose, same stallion in two pictures. Interesting that the second one isn't as successful as the first. There's another picture on the Gainey website of Gai Parada and Gai Seance which I think is more successful, but still not as spot on as Ferzon and Gai Parada.

Anyway, it's an iconic pose, one that was recognizable before Ferzon touched noses with his son. But that example is particularly magical. Ferzon's throatlatch in particular has that tension and a particular curve which stallions show off just as their self-control is about to break. He's reaching forward, but he's trying very hard to be a gentleman, but he's posing for this young buck. Very tense. Very elegant.

Gai Parada on the other hand seems to be calmer. In both poses he's just lovely. Gai Radiant isn't working for me at all though. He neck looks posed, as if he's been asked to take that snakey neck, ears forward position so many times in the show ring that he does it no matter what is put in front of him. Too bad. He's actually a decent horse, except for this picture. Gai Parada still hows some attitude of curiosity here. (BTW, the other thing that I find less successful in this picture is the drape of the leadlines going to the handler out of frame. I don't like the straight lines cutting sharply across the water like that. In the original, the background blurs them out better.)

OK, what started this critique?


an example of this classic pose which was not quite as successful.

As soon as I saw it, I knew they were going for the Father and Son pose. But.



Has anyone ever talked to you about backgrounds? Ever? Or, um, the wisdom of handling two stallions nose to nose by yourself when you're about two feet tall?

Yeah. This one doesn't work for me.

Especially since they're cremellos. Yegh. I really don't like pink skinned eyes.

OK, not meaning to snark on the horses, just on the bizarre thought process that led the photographer to have the handler crouch down. "Don't worry! No one will see your bright shiny knees if you stay very close to the ground!"


ames said...

What beautiful pictures!

But not the bottom one. Totally agree - UGH.

meljean brook said...

What ames said. I also have a particular dislike of the pinky eye -- we used to have a horse with the pinky eye, and it always freaked me out, even though he was the sweetest horse.

And, man, look at those necks. Sometimes I think the high crest is so elegant, and other times a little freakish -- but in the first picture, especially, they're just gorgeous (and another reason why, even with the background erased, the last pic is ... blergh. There's nothing interesting about the pose, because everything is horizontal).

Suisan said...

Stallions do that with their necks when they are showing off for another stallion or showing off for a mare. Oldest photographic trick in the book is to photograph a stallion arching his neck by having a mare stand just outside of the frame.

The picture looks serene, but the photo shoot in reality is very LOUD as the stallion bellows to the mare. Usually she ignores him. heh.

You can train a horse to stretch his neck, but to get that extra sucking in of the throatlatch to get that great bottom curve, the horse really just has to want to do it on his own.

Which makes the lower picture um, yeah, dull. Doesn't either stallion even care that he's standing right next to a stallion? Yeah. OK. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Neo here, too lazy to log in. When're you gonna do that Pet Post? I want the world to see Takame escaping from the couch!