From Seabiscuit to Mr. Ed, some horses have a way of hogging the limelight. But photographer Wiebke Haas gets more up close and personal with more of these majestic creatures in her photo series "Horsestyle" for which she was a shortlist finalist in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.
The portraits show a variety of horses shaking their manes, which gives us a glimpse into their personalities as well.
Haas' love for horses goes back to when she was a young girl.
"When I was 12 years old, I fell in love with a small Appaloosa herd in my neighborhood. It was there where I became a full-fledged equestrian," Haas tells MNN.
Since then, her passion for horses has only grown more intense. "I can't imagine a day without these magnificent animals."
She knew she wanted her career to revolve around horses. "I'd do something that was near to my heart and soul instead of working in a dull office job just to earn a living. Therefore, I combined my great passion for horses with my desire to be creative and became an equine photographer."
Getting the portraits is a tricky, delicate process involving assistants, treats and sometimes even tickling.
"The most important thing is to communicate clearly with the horse owner/rider and the assistants. The owner must know how to prepare the horse for a photo session. For the best results, we need a very shiny coat with a fluffy mane and tail."
While some horses are trained by their owners to shake by hand commands, others need some coaxing. Haas has her assistants make noises or tempt the horses with treats to get them to shake their manes. If delicious goodies don't work, she will sometimes tickle the horse's ear, which usually does the trick!
"For me, horses simply are the most magnificent animals on this planet. They are very aesthetic, strong but also gentle."