The Farrier

Documentary, Editorial

‘The Farrier’, is a photographic documentary documenting the work and working environment of a self-employed farrier - Andy Eadie - who operates in and around the Lambourn Downs.

Despite living in an area famous for and shaped heavily by horse racing, livery yards and hunting, I had never spent time around horses or the environment where they live and work. I set out initially to spend a day with Andy, driven by curiosity and the search for a new photographic project. What I witnessed was an ancient, poetic and rhythmic craft; a beautiful, tactile and diverse environment with an architecture, smell, colour, texture and construction all of it’s own; horses for racing, playing polo, pulling traps, working, riding and quite simply, for business, companionship and enjoyment; a welcoming and friendly environment where tea and cake was frequently part of the working ritual.

Purposefully choosing to use a light and fast rangefinder camera with fixed focal length lenses which encourage movement in the space, rather than a passive stance when equipped with zoom lenses, what follows is my emotional and later, considered response to what I experienced. ‘The Farrier’ tells the story of those days spent with Andy Eadie, in the cold depths of winter, 2013. Working in the racing yards, livery yards and private stables, Andy’s work takes place out of view of all but those that either own or work with the horses. The work not only documents the artisan craftsman at work, but captures the textures, colours and fabric of the stables, as well as hinting at the quietly intimate relationship Andy develops with the horses he works with.

In a world where the horse and jockey are frequently photographed at events, my photographs present a view that is rarely seen or presented to the public – creating compelling and moving images that speak of the Downs and a key aspect of rural life.

A self published, signed book is available to order from the 'prints' page of this website

Client

Personal Work

Date

January / February 2013

Services

Photography

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"Stable" - Foreword from Matthew's book ' The Farrier', by Richard Hales:

stable: “A building set apart and adapted for the keeping of horses”*

stable: “permanent, reliable, enduring”**

The stable is a paradoxical construction, at once solid and enduring but it relies on its definition from the transitory and temporary visitors it houses. Without them it would be stable but not a stable.

The passing and the static are elements that are intrinsic parts of the Farrier as evidenced in the first photograph in the work. A landscape depicting an area that has been developed and moulded for the keeping of horses however this relationship is only visible from the snow laying on the ground. The snow defines the nature of the land, it picks out the fences and horses from and apart of the land. Without this temporary element the photograph would still be of the same subject but it would not describe and define the relationship.

As you move further into the work the elements of time and passing become apparent. The second photograph has a clock writing the passing of time and there three stable doors with what behind them? One is open suggesting the occupant is gone the other two are closed, we do not know what is behind them, there is an absence but the absence is not fetishistic it is descriptive and further highlights the relationship between the elements that make up this world.

*The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Ed. L Brown, OUP, 1993
** Ibid.