Heading Home – Angus Neilson

 Posted by on December 31, 2012  Add comments
Dec 312012
 
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Last year I completed a book project that recorded a season of hunting with the Egmont Wanganui Hunt. The book is part of a series I am doing about rural New Zealanders. On a few occasions my son, Angus, was able to join me for the day and help photograph. I enjoy his company and his uncanny ability to see a moment in the same way as I do. It’s hopeless if we stand together because we end up with an image that has been taken at the same time, the time of capture in the metadata is testament to that. When there is a lot of action on we rarely need to communicate because we each seem to know exactly what the other is thinking and we are able to cover the moment in unison. It is a special bond that I cherish. I took over 16,000 images in the process of recording the season’s hunts and eventually there came a moment when I needed to choose a cover image. I was looking for an image that represented the hunt in a generic way. One that had some emotional response to it yet was not too personally identifiable to cause any duress. Hunting is an inherited vestige of English tradition, albeit with a New Zealand flavour, and is coming under pressure to adapt to changes in expectations, land use, personnel and finances. None of my images seemed to fit, luckily I had a son who had taken just the image I needed. For me it shows the hounds and the huntsman heading home after the hunt. The huntsman’s posture in the saddle is still erect, eyes looking forward, carrying the tradition forward to another hunt or season. The hounds are obediently in a pack, their heads lowered after kilometres of running, driven by an instinct that is genetically ingrained in them but shaped by the human hand and mind that has its own ulterior motives. And the sky, darkened and brooding, suggest that storm clouds are brewing on the horizon.

Pauline Neilson

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  2 Responses to “Heading Home – Angus Neilson”

  1. I like the timeless feeling of this image – it could have been made any time in the last 150 years (more if you didnt tell us it is in NZ)

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