Constance Jaeggi Debuts Equine Photography Exhibition at Cowgirl Museum

Rat Pack, 2017, Constance Jaeggi

As much of my day revolves around caring for, breeding and showing cutting horses, I came naturally to the idea of exploring their mystery and beauty through photography.

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame will premiere “Aspects of Power, Light and Motion,” the debut exhibition of equine photographs by Constance Jaeggi, the successful rancher and champion cutting horse rider who reveals the individual personality of horses through her fine-art photography. The exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in the museum’s Anne W. Marion Gallery.

For her first exhibition, Jaeggi (pronounced: Jay-guee) focuses on the horse as a dynamic being while capturing its sense of motion in a still frame. For each portrait, she takes horses out of their natural environment to photograph them in the indoor studio she built on her ranch, the J Five Horse Ranch in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas, the cutting horse capital of the world. This enables her to create a setting to work with light and shadow to accentuate the desired characteristic of each horse.

“I photograph the horses with no halters or means of restraints,” Jaeggi said. “It is a soft and natural process. Unrestrained, horses tend to be incredibly cooperative if you know how to talk to and coax them. In many ways, I feel that my process is similar to the one when competing with a horse. I see it as a partnership rather than as a relationship of force. Each horse interacts differently in the studio setting. Some horses are more comfortable than others and thrive from the attention; as a result, their individuality becomes apparent.”

Jaeggi worked for more than a year to create the collection of 21 large-format, black-and-white photographs, ranging in size from 15″ x 15″ to 39.4″ x 70″. She titled each photograph to reflect the personality of the horse or horses featured: “Adonis,” “Black as Ink,” “Blondie,” “Budvar,” “Child of the Mountain,” “Cold Shoulder,” “Dancer in the Dark,” “Daybreak,” “Don’t Look Away,” “Equus,” “Hercules,” “Night and Day,” “Rat Pack,” “Reverence,” “Running Man,” “Summer…

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