Monthly Archives: August 2010
Day one in France and I come face to face with one of the world’s most infamous characters, in the showjumping world. Diamant de Semilly is a retired world champ, and now dominant character amongst the stud farm here in Normandy, which belongs to Eric Lavallois, ex-world champ show jumper.
Everyone was incredibly hospitable and went out of their way to help me groom, prepare, pose. I got Diamant (without getting bitten), Kalaska (his son and infamous stallion in his own right) and a few other beautiful Selle Francais stunners, whilst enjoying some late summer sunshine with my personal translator and chauffeur – my Dad.
Seriously, this was a rough voyage. Force 5s blowing, Tango the boat rocked and rolled all the way across the Channel. At one point we were doing 21 knots but travelling backwards.
We arrived in France somewhat green, Dad exhausted from manning the helm, but we were safe on French soil, where we found our hire car waiting. The journey commenced, and we drove about 3 hours east to Deaville, Normandy, and found ourselves in a funny little Chambres D’Hote (B&B) where cows were being milked to music and wifi was nowhere to be found. Breakfast was warm, fresh milk and homemade butter, with soft, warm ‘pain’ and homemade jams….plus a bowlful of strong, hot coffee to set us up for the day’s shooting…details of which I shall save for another post.
To all intents and purposes this is the beginning of a brand new journey. A new journey that I aim to document in front of, as well as behind, the camera. Hello to my new Sony Bloggie. I’m not very good in front of the camera, especially having to speak – it’s a bit like leaving a message on an answering machine…all too easy to ramble because no ‘real time’ other person is there to butt in and stop you talking. It is not a conversation, but one way blurb. I will try my hardest to refrain from such blurbing.
So what am I documenting? I am documenting what may fast become the most incredible journey of my life to date. I am commissioned to find and photograph over 80 individual breeds of horse around the world, for a beautiful coffee table book called The Majesty of the Horse. Working closely with renowned author Tamsin Pickeral, I shall be venturing high, low, east, west and far beyond the horizon in search of some of the world’s finest equine beauties.
In a bid to keep this short and sweet and to prevent losing your attention, please check out my first video – made upon arrival in France when we sailed across from Alderney on a test run. Well, for everyone else it was an opportunity to gorge on moules frites, but for me it was a dry run…a week later, I am now packing my bags and preparing to set sail with my father and invade the Normandy coast of France, where my journey begins – again. Dad is interpreter, companion and captain of the ship.
Post-France, I will head to Spain, Italy, Dubai, the States, India, Australia and beyond. So my pressing travels really begin yesterday, and end in February 2011, most likely in some chilly field in outer Mongolia (do they have fields?). Excitement, nerves, I’m ready.