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 July 21, 2017
As many already know, Detheo Photography began over 7 years ago almost by accident. But we had never envisaged just what the future would hold.
The journey has been, at times, very challenging, both physically and emotionally, but nothing could destroy the passion.
In the very early days we worked from a room in our home. It was far from ideal, but it was all we had. At that time we would meet clients away from the office. Then in 2013, with the business steadily growing, we decided to convert our garage into a new office and studio combo.
This was to be a great asset and the business started to really take a turn as we were able to display samples of our work, host meetings and small workshops. At the same time we also started our Christmas Special Offers, shooting from the same space.
However, the business continued to evolve and over time we decided to make the move and take on our first Barn Studio.
Rustic and airy would be very simplistic words to describe it! At over 100 years old with no windows, lighting, flooring or heating it was a new challenge. But it gave us clarity on what we wanted for the future.
And just 12 months later we had moved into a properly converted stable block just opposite. We retained the Barn Studio name for ease and have since then seen Detheo Photography take another huge leap forward.
The transformation from those early days has been incredible and it is still quiet unbelievable to look back and see how far we have come. But it is a journey that we have not travelled alone and the support of family and close friends has been a huge part of our success. Along the way we have faced difficult times, but we chose to learn from them and they have served to make us stronger and wiser.
2017 began with a promise to ourselves. It was to be our own commitment to dreaming bigger and, in turn, to achieving greater goals.
Today, we are proud to say, that we are well on our way to making those dreams a reality with this week seeing the building works begin on our new, purpose built office and studio.
The build is going to be quite extensive and projected to take approximately 4 months to complete. As such, business will continue as normal from the Barn Studio. However we look forward to keeping everyone updated on developments during the building phase, so make sure to follow our page on FaceBook.
Thank you to all of our clients for whom we have worked with over the years and especially to those who have been so supportive of our work. At the very core of all our plans and developments is the ability to offer the highest, most personalised service possible and we know this new move will do just that.
Posted on December 2, 2012
When I was a little girl my father would always joke around using his heavily Greek accent to repeat lines from his favourite programs and films. He had many lines and they still have us laughing even now, so many years on. My mother, the more sensible of the two, had one or two lines of her own, her favourite being “always learning, learning all the time!”. I doubt she ever realised how true those words were, but those few words have inadvertently formed the foundations of my life ever since.
In every aspect of life, I believe there are new things to learn. The world around us has so much information yet many people travel through life almost with their eyes and ears closed. Some do this with no realisation that it is happening, whereas others are more deliberate, believing they have all the knowledge there is to have.
Like all other professions, Photography is a journey of learning, with many years of travel exploring new and wonderful findings. And just when you think you have discovered all there is to be found, there will always something else hiding in wait.
Still very much at the early stages of my journey, I have searched long and hard to find courses that offer the quality and personalisation that I require to forward my skills. So when I recently was alerted to such an opportunity, I could not quite believe it.
However, true it definitely was for last weekend, (from Friday 23rd until Monday 26th November 2012) I packed up my car and drove the three and half hours journey to East Yorkshire to meet John and Liz Denton, from Denton Photography. It was clear from the beginning that both John and Liz understood my values and my aspirations. They also had done their home work on me and were ready to guide me through the next level of my learning and amongst other things, lighting was one of the main areas we all knew I needed to develop.
Saturday morning started with freezing fog that swept over the ground and significantly reduced visibility. Making my way to the studio I wondered what my day would entail. As someone who loves being outside, I should not have feared, as the day turned out to be truly amazing. John embraced the fog and taught me how to work it to my advantage. As did our wonderful model, Jennifer Dickinson, who seemed to love the outdoors as much as we did.
Throughout the day we worked with natural light, then mixed this with additional lighting and finally finished off in the studio working with studio lighting.
Sunday promised to be another jam packed day and this time we were joined by the beautiful Caroline Mary Spalding. Having lost the fog, we just had the flooded roads and freezing cold weather to contend with. Yet nothing seemed to phase us and the stunning shots just kept coming.
With John determined to push me forward, Sunday brought a new feeling of confidence and by the late afternoon I really began to feel at one with all the new skills I and learnt and the equipment I was surrounded by. But, just as I thought I was getting comfortable, John took me yet again further out of my comfort zone.
Now, I too had done my research and was very aware that my teacher was not just a good photographer. Apart from being a down to earth, shorts wearing funny man, John Denton is actually one of the most skilful and creative photographers I have ever seen and I doubt anyone knows how to use light better than him. He also has a reputation for creating some of the most amazing and artistic nude images ever. So it was no surprise that the final stage of my training involved Caroline ditching her warm winter wear and taking it all back to nature!
However, John had indeed not only taught me so much, but took the time to also learn about me. By giving me the opportunity to create images with my own style, John introduced me to a genre of photography I had never really focused much on. To my surprise, and possibly John’s, I took to it like a duck to water.
Monday was spent going over all of my images and then a business development session with the inspirational Liz Denton. Liz is the authority on everything business, as well as an amazing photographer in her own right. Her guidance and direction gave clarity to a once hazy area.
So, sadly the weekend was over but the long journey back flew past as my mind raced with what I had learnt, what I had achieved and what I wanted from the future.
The weekend with John and Liz, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy family life I have here, helped me to really focus on who I am and what I see as the future of Detheo Photography. I cannot give specifics but I will say the future is definitely looking bright! I feel recharged, enlightened and ready to start moving forward.
I would like to thank John and Liz for their kindness, support and commitment to sharing their passion and skills, and for their continued desire to ensure their teaching is accessible without discrimination.