Why did you begin including yourself in photographs with horses?
My relationship to horses is a complex one, but I’m not sure the focus should be on horses, rather on nature itself. Horses just became the personal choice through which nature seems most represented in the way I see it - strong and powerful and full of sensitivity and beauty. I think the subject of nature itself is a complex one not easily defined by man. Horses represent one of the most noble and strong creatures that have bonded with man throughout history. I actually started by shooting women with horses trying to capture something visceral that went beyond just capturing beauty or a pretty image with horses or in nature. I found myself never content and felt like I was projecting these emotions and sentiments on somebody else, and, then I began shooting myself with the horses.
How does your connection to horses and nature conceptualize the synthesis of human intellect with animal instincts and how do these principles guide your own life?
I believe man is an animal in his own right, not a blended species. I think we carry with us instincts that are animal in nature because our roots and our bodies and emotions are all based on human/animal nature. I don't think we humans are separate from animals or nature; we don't live in nature - we are nature. We are all part of the same ecosystem. Since I was a child I think I have been very in tune with nature and animals. There is something calming about it.
Which philosophers do you study to support your own ethics concerning human nature?
Nature, by design, is in constant conflict. From the very beginnings of evolution and growth, things are pushed to grow or evolve. I most align with Thomas Hobbes who very much believed that man was an animal in the sense we have to live under some form of rules or regulations, or else we will be in complete conflict with each other.
What do you appreciate most about Hobbes’ philosophy?
Hobbes seemed to realize that humans, when left to their own devices, will almost always end up on a path to turmoil and self or social destruction, which is how the idea of social contract theory and an elected government or authority was conceived. I find it fascinating that amid all the current social and political problems and opinions, when we strip away the extraneous layers, we see exactly that the real root of the problem is our own animal instincts. Whether it’s from people fighting for more power, for more money, or more control, it all boils down to some pretty basic emotions that are unharnessed and let roam free.
The word philosophy is taken from the Greek word, (phileo) meaning "to love" or "to befriend" and (sophia) meaning "wisdom." Thus, "philosophy" means "the love of wisdom". Does your art embody a certain philosophy?
Through art, I am striving to have a conversation about man’s instincts and relationship with the natural world. Horses for me have become the link to the natural world. I am not sure if there are rules of civilization, but I want to explore the ideas of how closely linked we are to nature and explore my own animality and how it relates to the culture of today. Nature is my philosophy – that’s probably the easy answer to the question.