USHJA Wheeler Museum

Through the Lens: The Art of Hunter/Jumper Photography

The current exhibit showcases the art of hunter/jumper photographers, through their eyes. On display are memorable images selected by legendary photographers accompanied by their stories behind the images: the significance of the captured moment and the technique of framing the shot. While practicing their art, horse show photographers serve as the visual historians of the hunter/jumper sport.

On film and with digital cameras, hunter/jumper photographers have captured the elegance of hunters and the power of jumpers as well as the bonds between horses and their people. The stories of these photographers’ efforts to freeze-frame great images also provide insight to the changes in the technology of sports photography.

The contributing photographers selected photos that feature iconic horses, riders, and events; images captured through strategic planning or luck of location or lighting; and candid shots filled with emotion. Many images carry personal significance for the photographers. Together, the photos on display provide a unique view of 60 years of hunter/jumper horse shows.

The exhibit also includes items from the permanent collection of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame related to the horses and riders featured in the photographs on display and a special section dedicated to film excerpts from Harry & Snowman and personal mementos loaned by Harry de Leyer.

 

 For a sneak peek into the "Through the Lens" exhibit, check out photos from the exhibit below.

Tish Quirk

Greg Best and Gem Twist (1988), Team and Individual Silver Medalists, Seoul Olympics, Korea (Film). “I realized that I was standing next to some excellent photographers and none of them were pointing their cameras at the shot I loved of the Kwachon Gate. Since it was before digital cameras, I couldn’t look at my shot to see if it was working well. I wondered if there was something wrong with this shot that I was missing. Was it really worth the run to get this shot? I decided to trust my instincts and my own eye. Glad I did . . .”

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Tricia Booker

Gratitude (February 14, 2015), Winter Equestrian Festival, Wellington, FL (Digital). “This photo, of an amateur rider rewarding her horse for a job well done, is one of my favorites for its simplicity and the shadow depicting just the two of them as one, even in this expansive space.”

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Katey Barrett

Dianne Grod and Bomalla Bobby (1972), Santa Barbara National Horse and Flower Show, Santa Barbara, CA (Film). “I was experimenting with slow shutter and utilizing the light on that particular jump. I had only seen the streaking effect of slow-shutter shots of cars moving horizontally and was curious about the effect of a horse moving forward and up over a jump. I was quite pleased with the outcome and proceeded to pursue the slow-shutter concept.”

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Shawn McMillen Photography

Triple Crown (2015), USJHA International Hunter Derby Championship, Kentucky Horse Park (Digital). “This shot taken over the last fence of the handy round showed Liza Towell Boyd’s and Brunello’s form that sealed their place as the third-time (triple crown) winners of the Derby Finals.”

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Al Cook

Victory Gallop (2017), Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Harrisburg, PA (Digital). “This shot captures the beauty of the horse along with the joy of the blue ribbon winner.”

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Inez Pennington

Joe Fargis and Cor d’Alme Z (1993), Hampton Classic, Bridgehampton, NY (Film). “I liked to shoot landing or ‘drop’ shots. As the horse unfolded from the peak of the arc, the rider’s face became more visible and was more relaxed. It had to be just at the right instant, though—too late, and it was often unflattering of the horse and rider as they hit the ground.”

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Phyllis Pennington

Michael Matz and Jet Run (1983), American Gold Cup, Devon, PA (Film). “Phyllis pioneered ‘gallop’ shots of horses turning around the course and heading toward the camera in a time when most exhibitors were just looking for photos over jumps.”

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Budd Studio

Raymond Burr and Kimberling (c. 1957), Devon Horse Show, Devon, PA (Film). Budd photos preserve images of horse show settings long gone. Before the suburbs encroached on the Devon showgrounds, hunters navigated an outside course of jumps around the main ring. Spectators could gather for a close-up view.

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Randi Muster

Sophie Gochman Riding Dolphin (2009), Horse Shows by the Bay, Traverse City, MI (Digital). “This was a Walk/Trot/Canter class and Dolphin coughed as he went by. I was amazingly right there with my 300mm 2.8 lens to capture this amusing candid photo. Dolphin was one of the great ponies who taught countless children to ride.”

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