Field Notes - Horses of Iceland

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Earlier this year I linked up with Horses of Iceland & Íslandshestar to produce a series of portraits of the Icelandic Horse to illustrate their unrivalled mystical connection to the elements of Icelandic Nature.

Below you'll find my favourite portraits, reflections, and short poems from the photo session at the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall in South Iceland with horses from Íslandshestar.

Note: Special permission from the landowner was obtained and no horses were harmed in the process of creating this portrait series.

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Elemental. 
Emerge the great white, 
Born to the elements. Birthed in the night.
The weight of histories, moreover untold. 
In the arc of winter, unfazed, we brave the cold. 
Destination unfixed to stride by sturdy bones. 
Lay witness, inky water. Full soak, wet stone. 
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Curiosity and Connection. 

Laying on the water's edge, our eyes met in mist. 

For a moment we were both frozen and then thawed again. 

What flowed between us, a dense mix of curiosity amidst the haze. 

Eternally linked, tangency secure, we now knew each other's gaze.

We as humans possess an undeniable desire to connect. To nature and to one another. The Icelandic Horse shares a similar emotional quality and their very being has been moulded by a curiosity with the world around them. A characteristic that has developed over time alongside their counterparts, the Icelandic people. You can sense this crossover between our species in the way we look at each other. In the way we interact. 

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Embrace. 

Flow, said the mist to the brink of the cliff. 

Over and beyond, fell fast, hard hit.

Blue and gold, seated in light and dark.

Emerge, embrace, set free, stark white. 


Posed against the backdrop of the mighty waterfall, one cannot ignore the similarities between the Icelandic Horse and the raw energy of water. Free flowing, yet steady. Dark, yet light. Powerful, yet soft and calm. The essence of the Icelandic Horse is distilled in the elements of Icelandic Nature. The two are a comparison for each other. Describe the landscape, and you describe the Horse. Describe the Horse and you paint a picture of the landscape. 

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Transcendent. 

Showering down, covered, and soaked. 

Up to waist, knees shaking, hands cold. 

Sturdy stride, affixed, despite rocky floor.

Shine the light, warm face, hard ice, nothing more.

Like something out of a dream he emerged from the shadows of the waterfall to meet the burst of light.

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Beyond.

Far away, lay distant lands. 

Distant thoughts, from where we began. 

Describe the subtlety of power, beyond these walls. 

Enclosed within, stores natures’ vault.  

For this final portrait, I’d like to give special thanks to the team who made this series possible. Thank you to Jelena of Horses of Iceland for connecting me with Íslandshestar and for your hard work in organising the logistics of this shoot. All of these portraits were captured one frosty and misty morning back in February with the dedication of the Íslandshestar team: Hannes, Sophie, and Þóður. All three embraced the elements, wading through water, mist, and ice with the strength and grace of the Icelandic Horse in order to create these portraits. Thank you for your time and for your immense efforts!

I’m very much looking forward to my next interaction with the Icelandic Horse. Until then, I’ll continue to be forever inspired by their presence throughout the Icelandic Landscape.

In the coming months I'll release the entire collection as a special edition print run. If you're the owner of any of my previous collections you'll be given early access.