Posted on March 12, 2018
Sometimes in life, the reality turns out to be a disappointment compared to the fantasy. Like that time when you were so looking forward to something and once there it turns out not to be as great as you had imagined. This was definitely NOT the case here!
After years of admiration and months of excitement having booked to attend a Special Training Day with Monty Roberts, The Horse Whisperer, I did question how this would live up to expectations. Would he be a nice as I imagined? Would I be able to feel the connection or would I disappear into the background? I had wanted to meet him since I was a child, so it was my responsibility to make that happen. But would he be receptive?
Arriving at The Intelligent Horsemanship centre run by Kelly Marks (who herself is an amazing woman) I quickly realised that I never had needed to question it at all.
From the very beginning, I felt an instant sense of belonging. Which of course is a little odd as I was the only person who was not either a horse breeder, an owner or a stable hand. Some of the terminology used meant nothing to me. But when I questioned the meaning of something, Monty kindly explained without making me feel belittled in any way.
At this point, people will question, why I felt the need to attend such a training day in the first place? So let me explain.
From a very young age, I have always been fascinated by the ability to develop an instinctual understanding and route of communication between us and other species. As a Specialist Pet Photographer, I feel very passionate about the ability to understand the animals I work with. To understand how the animal is feeling, how what I do affects them, and how I can ensure that my behaviour always creates a positive experience for them.
This was the motivation behind my learning about dog behaviour and over the years I have seen how this knowledge of dogs has influenced my work. It has not only enabled me to work better with dogs in general, but enabled me to work with dogs, that others would struggle to photograph. But above all, it means that I am always working with the dogs best interests at heart.
So it was actually quite emotional for me to finally meet Monty, and confirm that he holds the same values for his relationship with horses. It wasn’t a publicity stunt and when you watch him work with a horse that he has never met before, there was no doubting he really did understand them and have the ability to communicate with them. You could feel something between the horse and Monty, like a private conversation but with the volume muted.
The owners of both horses on the day were attendees of the workshop and I watched closely their reactions when Monty was working with their horse. I was left with no doubt as to how shocked and blown away they were.
At some point during the lunch break, I approached Monty and introduced myself, explaining my reasoning for attending. I thanked him for all the work he has done and continues to do, in trying to make the lives of horses better all over the world, and, for giving me the knowledge and inspiration to keep learning and working the way I do. Taking my hand, we spoke briefly and he thanked me for attending and for my kind words. This gesture will never be forgotten.
I have never in life idealised anyone based on fame or status. It was never and still is not important to me. It is what they choose to do in life that intrigues me and where they gain my respect.
To me, Monty Roberts is not a celebrity, he is a man who has is trying to make a difference. To remind humanity that each animal has its own evolution, its own behaviour and its own way of communicating.
But for me, Monty’s work serves as a reminder of a deeper message. When working with animals, you learn that they can sense chemical changes in our body. Increases in our adrenalin and heart rate, for example, will have an impact on them. With horses, it will often make them fear a possible upcoming danger.
So it is not just about learning to relax and clear your mind of all negativity, but also the ability to just BE in that moment, that makes that connection more possible.
Animals do not care about our social status, wealth or materialistic possessions. They do not know who we are in the human world, all they relate to is who we are at that moment in time. It is our intentions and our behaviour that confirms the purity our heart and mind and it is only then that they will begin to trust us.
After the day had ended, I had the opportunity to speak to Monty again whilst he signed my book and also had a chance to speak to Kelly Marks who is in her own right, an incredible woman who also works so hard at changing the lives of horses and their owners. An accidental meeting drew Monty and Kelly together (although my belief in fate would suggest this was meant to be) and after a short period, Monty asked Kelly to be the first ever to teach his methods to the public. This was to be the birth of the Intelligent Horsemanship.
I hope to meet up again with Kelly and her team in the future. Her passion and knowledge are infectious. And her kindest is evident for all to see. Without her commitment to the Intelligent Horsemanship, the opportunity to meet and witness, first hand, Monty’s methods would not exist. I personally would like to thank Kelly for making this possible. It has changed the lives of so many horses and people and I am sure it will continue to change many many more. It definitely has changed my life.
I encourage anyone with a horse or pony to at least attend one of the demonstrations held by Kelly or Monty and witness the same as what I did.
It will change your lives, how much of course, is up to you.
Posted on March 9, 2018
Posted on January 20, 2017
Posted on November 25, 2016
Being a Specialist Pet Photographer did not happen by accident. Yes, it would be fair to say it was something I had aspired to. Over the past 7 or more years, I have worked hard and inevitably my business has grown. However, I believe that there was something more powerful than just wanting, that bought Detheo Photography to where it is today.
The relationships between people and animals has always fascinated me and the bonds that we build, have been one of the most profound foundations of my work.
Photographing animals takes so much more than just being a great photographer. The ability to interact with each individual, in a way that is suited to them, means dedicating a vast amount of time to learning and understanding the behaviour of each species. It is an endless journey with amazing rewards.
It is so lovely to be able to capture beautiful images of peoples pets, seeing the amazement when they view their images for the first time. And over 7 years we have been fortunate to photograph near on one thousand animals, of all shapes and sizes.
Yet, the true defining moment came Friday last week, when we were contacted by a very heartbroken lady Vanessa, explaining that her dog Samson had recently been diagnosed with Cancer.
“My Samson has only weeks to live. I have been trying to take pictures over the past couple of weeks but either burst into tears or just can’t capture a shot of him.Would you be able to fit Samson and Sadie (our other dog) for a shoot. They have never been apart for over 9 years and a picture together would be a wonderful thing for us to treasure.”
We worked quickly to make arrangements and get Samson and Sadie into the studio this Wednesday (23/11/16).
The dogs came with one of their regular dog walkers, Susanna as Vanessa understandably felt she would struggle. Instantly I sensed Samson was not quite right. It is difficult to express in words but there was just a gut feeling. So I decided to pretend that we were not doing anything other than just having a chat. I moved the giant leather pouf into the shooting area and invited the dogs to get up and lay down. Susanna then perched on the side and I sat on the floor. Within moments, they had both relaxed and soon feel asleep.
That evening I started to edit the images we had captured. But, if the truth be told, I found this an emotional time. Having said goodbye to three of our own pets, I knew all too well how devastated the family were going to be. Yet nothing I could do would ever change that.
However, there is something very special about a photograph. It has the ability to awaken all of our senses, so that in a split moment, we suddenly can feel the softness of our dogs coat and the distinct sounds of their barking. Photographs have the power to momentarily transport us back, to relive memories over and over again. And as sat back and looked at the final images, I realised, this way why I became a Specialist Pet Photographer. To be able to create these important images, so others may treasure them and in time gain some comfort from them too.
On Thursday 24th November, Samson’s condition deteriorated and today, Friday 25th November, he crossed over Rainbows Bridge. However, his paw prints will remain on the hearts of all that knew him.
Posted on June 26, 2016
Being a photographer and an animal lover means that family are never too stuck for gifts and last year we received an amazing gift that combined both passions. A voucher for a day’s photographic experience at Woburn Safari Park, with WildArena Imaging.
Woburn is a familiar location as we have often visited with the children on family days out. It offers the perfect opportunity to see some incredible animals in large open spaces, whilst driving around in your vehicle.
However, this day was going to offer something a little more special. David was our guide from WildArena Imaging and he was accompanied by Alice, one of Woburn’s own rangers.
As a group of eight, we divided ourselves between two 4×4 vehicles that David and Alice would be driving.
Whilst bumpy, this gave us the opportunity to move off from the traditional visitors routes and cross over, close to where the animals would be. In fact at times you could feel their breath as they strolled past or even looked up to investigate your sent in the air.
It was a brilliant day and whilst the photographic opportunities were plenty, there was something quite emotional about being so close to the animals. It was as if some of them too, seemed fascinated with us. Looking directly into the eyes of a Lioness or a large Bear and feeling something quite peaceful, is not what most would expect.
But it was out of the vehicles and on foot that we met some animals that, I for one, misunderstood most. The Black and White Ruffed Lemurs where truly special. Affectionate and gentle, they can of course also be quite cheeky. However, I discovered that they love it when you give them gentle scratch beneath their arms. So much so, that if you stop they will raise their arm up to signal for you to carry on. They also like to hold on to your fingers and once they do, you just do not have the heart to prize them off.
Here are just a few of the images we captured on the day. If you like the images then please feel free to leave a comment below.
Posted on June 13, 2016
In typical British fashion our morning started with rain. Reaching Bullfield’s Recreational Ground, Sawbridgeworth early to prepare our stand for the Dog Show, we were hopeful the rain would ease off in time for the formal start of the show. Which surprisingly it did. Bit of course this was short lived. The proceeded with intermittent spells of showers and dry periods. This however did not deter those who had decided to attend.
People of all ages, from all walks of life arrived to enjoy the day. There was a steel band, live music, the dog agility and dog show, alongside various stalls and even the fire brigade, who were displaying one of their amazing fire engines.
It was great to meet so many new faces and equally great to catch up with those who we have photographed in the past.
A big thank you to Adrienne from DogAblitly and Sawbridgeworth Town Council for the invitation and we look forward to attending again next year.
Here is a short slideshow with the images we captured on the day.
If you would like a Specialist Pet Photography Session for your dog or other pet, please visit our website for more details http://www.detheo.co.uk
Posted on June 11, 2016
When I was first contacted by Angela Adams, asking if I would be willing to give an interview for her column in the Professional Imagemaker Magazine, I was quite stunned.
Professional Imagemaker Magazine has graced my office for many years. One of the many perks of my membership to The Societies Of Photographers, it’s articles have provided endless inspiration and learning, featuring some of the worlds best photographers. I genuinely never even considered that I, would one day feature in the very same publication, let alone over three pages.
Of course I would accept, after all it really was an honour.
At first I did not realise the impact the article would have. Many people know me, know my story and have shared my journey. But it was the one person who knew me best, and knew more of my story than others, that was to be most affected. That person was me.
Why? Well you see, I felt so strongly that I should respect this opportunity by giving careful consideration to each question. However, in doing so I began to appreciate my own journey. It was like I got to travelled that same road, but this time I was able to actually pay attention to the views.
Through hard work, physical and emotional dedication, my dreams began to became reality, but I was almost too blinkered to realise. In life we spend so much time hiding in the shadows that we often do not realise when the shadows have disappeared.
Thanks to Angela’s interview, I was able to take a fresh look and realise how far I had come in such a short space of time.
I hope you enjoy reading the article and feel free to leave your comments.
(Please click on the images to enlarge them, making them easier to read)