Spirit is the defining trait of the Arabian breed, yet it can be a horse's most difficult feature to capture on film. After 40-plus years behind the camera, renowned equine photographer Johnny Johnston can almost sense the moment of equine charisma coming.
"A horse photographer needs to be infinitely flexible and very ready to catch the incredible things that horses do,"reads a quote by Johnston on the flyleaf of his brand-new book. " They do every kind of thing in every kind of light. You develop a sense...and you're already shooting'em before it actually happens."
Johnston's technique captures equine emotion. The photographs in Arabians convey the delight, interest, compassion, intensity, and animation of the horses, proving why these elegant animals have oft been the stuff of dreams. This stylish browsing book contains full-color photos of dozens of Arabians - from backyard pets to legends like Khemosabi and Padron - taken in the last 25 years of a career that has spanned half a century.
Johnston first fell in love with horses as a child in Mobile, Ala., where he was born in 1932. With personal experience limited to equids of the mule kind, Johnston found Gene Autry's movie mount Champion incredibly graceful, athletic, and friendly. The grade-schooler became an avid fan of westerns and it wasn't long before he began developing photos with a friend's developing kit.
SoonJohnston discovered a local Saddlebred farm. "To even be able to see, to be able to look at something this beautiful was, to me, like some great gift," Johnston remembered. "I cleaned a lot of stalls and ealked a lot of horses cool, just to be around them. I took my first Brownie (camera) photos of those horses, and I haven't ever tired of photographing a horse to this day."
After a half-century in the business, Johnston has photographed everything from horses and cattle to chickens and leopards. Events at which he's served as show photographer include the Arizona State Fair, Fort Worth Fat Stock Show, State Fair of Texas, Utah State Fair, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and breed nationals for Arabians, Morgans, Pintos, and Appaloosas. Today, Johnston concentrates his camera on horses for private ranches or groups.Western Horseman