Jennifer Irving | "Wild We Roam"
I first met Jennifer at an James Mullinger show at Yuk Yuks that was a fundraiser for Outflow, which she had helped organize. We had corresponded by email before that about a completely different topic, a feature for Issue #7 for which was doing the photos (Amer Al Asadi, a Syrian newcomer who is a skilled maker of mosaic wooden boxes - read all about it!). I started following her on social media and became captivated by her breathtaking images depicting wild horses among lush landscapes. I love featuring photographers who travel, so it made sense to ask her about her most recent trip, visiting a wild horse sanctuary in California. Here is a bit about Jennifer and her recent travels! Be sure to check out her website with the newest photos, oodles of dreamy and sun-kissed wild horses.
Thanks for sharing with us Jennifer!
How did you get into photography?
I have always had a passion for photography, I actually used to bring my camera to elementary school and capture portraits of all my classmates on the playground. I remember doing this as early as grade three. Ever since then I felt hooked.
Professionally I decided I wanted to pursue a career in photography in my early 20s. First I had thought about becoming a nurse, working with animals, and even a carpenter, but after thinking about what career best suited me I felt like photography was a perfect match. Being a photographer gives me the opportunity to see the world, shoot different subject matters, and meet so many amazing people. I also really enjoy being an entrepreneur and running my own business.
What is it about horses that draws you to photograph them in particular?
In general, I love all animals, but I feel like horses are such fascinating creatures. They have played an integral part in human history. The horse was used for food, herding, warfare, transportation, communication, agriculture, trade, commerce, pleasure, sport, and religion. They also played a significant role in the transfer of language, culture, and technology that resulted with the increased mobility the horse offered to mankind. Over time and throughout history, certain disastrous events such as a shipwreck or a siege of a village would have resulted in a release of these domesticated animals back into the wild. It’s interesting to think about how that relationship with man can end so abruptly and the reconnection to their wild roots can begin again. A perfect example is Sable Island, where over generations ships have crashed and sank of the treacherous coast, only to have any wild horses aboard make their way to the shore and find a new home to thrive in. I love that there are still wild horses roaming free. There are so many domestic horses in the world but its so amazing that we can see these wild horses being able to live and survive without humans.
Tell me about your most recent trip, where did you go and why?
During the month of May, I travelled to California, San Louis Obispo to visit “Return to Freedom”, which is a wild horse sanctuary. The purpose of the trip was to photograph wild horses as a part of my series “Wild We Roam”. This project includes travelling to 20 different locations to document wild horses in their habitats.
The “Return to Freedom” sanctuary’s story is beautiful, the owners decided to purchase 1,500 acres of land on the central coast of California to provide a safe haven for these beautiful animals. Currently, Return to Freedom provides a safe haven to almost 400 wild horses, they also try to unite all the family bands as well. I love the fact that they saw how these horses were being treated and actually did something about it, it’s so inspiring.
What was a highlight of this trip?
I would say the highlight from this trip was exploring the hills, hearing and feeling the rumble of the horses as they approached, and feeling the excitement as they appeared over the hilltop. During the time of year, the landscape was so beautiful, the lush mountains were ornamented with all the wildflowers in bloom, the horses galloping on the hills, it was all so magical. Humans may have taken them out of their natural habitat but it is so great to see that there are people out there that give them the chance to live freely again.
What do you have planned coming up?
Another passion and creative outlet I have is music and songwriting, I just released my first EP “Let ‘em In” and I am currently working on creating a full-length record. I also plan on travelling to France to photograph the wild horses of Camargue for my “Wild We Roam” series.
To read more about Jennifer's recent adventures, see her blog posts below:
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