Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book Review: EQUUS by Tim Flach

Book Summary:
No animal has captured the human imagination quite like the horse, from the first depictions our ancestors scratched into rock walls thousands of years ago, to countless renderings since in clay, marble, paint, ink, even film. Here, award-winning photographer Tim Flach's quest to document the horse has resulted in Equus (Abrams; October; 300 pages, 200 full color illustrations; U.S. $60.00; CAN $65.00), an intensely moving look at an animal—as solitary subject and en masse—whose history is so powerfully linked to our own.

This incredible project took seven years to complete. During that time, Flach traveled several hundred thousand miles from his home in London to carry out these shoots, through Rajasthan, Mongolia, Utah, and Iceland—no environment was too challenging for him, whether it be it in a controlled studio setting, underwater in a training pool, or from the back of a motorcycle on rough terrain. The resulting images include breeds both familiar and surprising, such as the Arabian from the Royal Yards of the United Arab Emirates, prized for its sleek, muscular perfection; and the Prewalzski, the wild horse that lives on the Mongolian steppes and bears a striking resemblance to the horses found in Paleolithic cave art.

Every step of the way, Flach aimed to take a fresh approach with his photography while always welcoming the unexpected from his subjects. From purebred Icelandic horses in their glacial habitat to herds of striped zebras following the rains during the annual Great Migration in Kenya; from the soulful gaze of a single horse's lash-lined eye to the thundering majesty of hundreds of mustangs racing across the plains of the American Southwest, Equus provides an amazing and unique insight into the physical dynamics and spirit of the horse.

For a preview of images from this book, please visit this website:

Also, has discounts available, in addition to a few page previews.

Nuzzling Muzzles' Review:
Equus by Tim Flach is a collection of photographs in the equine realm that is truly exquisite. Tim Flach has an eye for what is within the eye of an animal, as well as for partial images of horses, such as withers and necklines, that stand alone. Within this collection he visits various points of view, including the underbelly of an Irish Sport Horse in mid-jump and a PRE Andalusian buried behind its own mane. He helps us see spots within the spots of an Appaloosa, as well as the symmetry of stripes upon a zebra. He draws comparisons by placing a Miniature Donkey head across the page from an Arabian horse head.

Horses are shown within their own natural settings, including the Icelandic Horse wading through ice, the Fjord up to its hocks in snow in Norway, the curves of a Haflinger's back in the forefront of the Tyrolean Alps, Arabians amongst the sand dunes of the United Arab Emirates, and the Mustang traversing the desert floor of Utah. Tim Flach also explores the conception and growth from embryo to fetus to foal.

Little did I know that there is a horse breed in India called with Marwari with the most amazing ears. They are somewhat like alien antennae or llama ears. I also discovered the Poiton Donkey of France with its amazingly long, matted fur. Despite having the appearance of the cavemen of the donkey breed, I've never seen a sweeter face.

Equus would make a great gift for any horse fanatic or someone with an interest in photography. I'm keeping my copy out on the coffee table for all to view. The book comes complete with author's comments in the back regarding the specifics of each photograph. My favorite photograph is on page 118. It is a picture of the world's smallest zebra walking across a cracked, dry lake or creek bed with the sun behind it, which stretches its shadow out to be many times longer and larger than its real size. That, to me, is a statement on many of the photographs in this collection: They are larger than life.


Jenn said...

I heard about this book pre-publication and am very excited to get my own copy. I'm glad to hear you are enjoying it.

Tim Flach is an absolutely amazing photographer. He definitely views the world differently than the rest of us and uses his lens to show us how he sees it.

It's now on my Christmas/birthday list!

Vaquerogirl said...

I have heard about this book, but was afraid that it would be like all the rest- lots of 'flaring nostrils, wildly tossed manes and movie stars. After reading your review I will definetly go find a copy for myself.

Andrea said...

I have seen this book on some other people's blog and they say it's good too. I will have to check it out. It looks really neat.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a great book. I'll be putting this on my Christmas list.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I just spent 15 minutes just looking through the slideshow from his website. (My daughter got the giggles from watching the dog walk back and forth over the plexglass floor. hehe)

My jaw was dropping for all the photos, but especially the amazing horse fetus and birth photos! Wow!

I also was amused and surprised by the many different kinds of head gear worn by those horses, too. It was like walking through an equine museum.

Thanks for the review. I sure hope Tim is giving you a good commission. :)