When Tyson and Severine invited me to Switzerland seven years ago to photograph their wedding, I had no idea how that event would effect my career or my life. Not only have I been given the gift of being able to photograph beautiful people in jaw-dropping scenery, but the friendships I have made there are truly precious to me. This summer marked the third time I've been able to visit with these people, whom I consider to be closer to family than friends. They are seriously some of the most hard-working, generous, and loving souls I know!
I've known horses are a big part of Severine and Tyson's lifestyle, but it wasn't until this last visit that I actually got to bond with their magnificent equine babies. Severine is a therapist, and she allows her horses to take part in the healing process for others. I don't know why it surprised me, but I was blown away by their individuality and personalities. They are really just like people - intelligent souls occupying a physical body. I want to introduce you to these fantastic animals:
This is Didje. She had a sad history of abuse before Severine adopted her (in spite of the advise from many friends that she would never be able to live a docile life.) Well, don't tell Severine she can't do something unless you really want it done - she will out-stubborn anyone! Severine spent years re-training and loving Didje, and she saved her. Didje was the horse I got to groom and ride, and I'm telling you, I LOVE this Queen of Horses! She is truly a regal and magnificent soul, with a proud but gentle spirit.
And that brings us to Didje's daughter, Dadjik. She is the baby of the family, and one gets the impression if she could wear diamonds, she totally would. She is young and energetic, and frankly a little moody - but that's all normal for any teen. Dadjik has the most beautiful poise and posture, which I'm sure she inherited from her mother. And she's a red-head, so… yeah.
This is Garijo (Gary Jo in English). He can be shy, a bit anxious, and he definitely did not like being in front of the camera. I love this image of Severine soothing him (she truly is a horse-whisperer.) You can see so much emotion in his face - just like a child.
And Diouc (Duke). Sweet, sweet Diouc was Severine's first love. He has been with her longer than Tyson has. He is getting pretty old, and lives life at a slower, wiser pace than the others. Diouc is fantastic with children, and he let my daughter learn to gallop bare-back on his shoulders (which may have been the highlight of her entire life so far.) We had to photograph him with the whole family because he's been with everyone from the beginning.
And finally, Tyson's boy, Picasso. What a couple of jokers. These images made me laugh out loud when I was processing because they are pulling the exact same faces! The first impression Picasso gives is of his imposing size. He is a big horse! I'm already vertically challenged, but Picasso makes me feel like a dwarf. But he really loves the camera, and frankly hogs the attention at every opportunity.
Caring for their horses is hard work - but working hard always has more benefits than costs, and I envy the connection T&S have with nature in their every-day lives. I love my home, but I miss these beautiful people and animals.
PS How amazing is the loft S&T are working on in their beautiful home? We had rain for a couple days so we had to find an indoor alternative for the kids' portraits. This is the coziest place to hang out, and next time I visit, I'm really hoping the sauna is ready! :-)