National Geographic: February 2009

Melissa Farlow with Gila Herd

Melissa Farlow with Gila Herd

Two years ago I was photographing Mustangs in South Dakota at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMP). One herd there in particular has my heart and that herd is the Gila Herd. Spanish Duns and Grullos (and Grullas), this herd comes from Gila Bend, AZ. When the BLM was going to eradicate the herd, the ISPMB took the last remaining 33 horses and moved them to the conservancy in SD. I love all horses yet this herd has transcended all boundaries and allowed me to integrate in ways that I treasure. There are so many stories, some of which I’ll be posting here in my blog.

     This picture  is of National Geographic photographer Melissa Farlow, who spent five days with me at the ISPMB. She had left her camera and tripod for a few moments and when she turned around they were surrounded by curious bachelor stallions. When she went to “rescue” her equipment, they decided to check her out as well. A bit uncomfortable at first, when I told her that they were just curious and not going to “eat her” she started laughing and I got this image. Melissa is like me and much prefers to be behind the camera instead of in front of it, yet she really enjoyed this image. How could you not? Great camera gear, beautiful inquisitive mustangs, and a smile as bright as sunshine. When Melissa’s photography was featured in the February 2009 issue of National Geographic with an article on wild horses, the image above was published on page 152 with a short bio piece on Melissa.

A New Friend, photograph by Melissa Farlow
A New Friend, photograph by Melissa Farlow

Something I’ve enjoyed about “sharing photography space” with professional, experienced, confident photographers is their lack of competitive nature when “playing with others”. Mostly, they seem to be in competition with their own work…striving to be better on every shoot. Melissa and I prefer to be alone when we photograph and I wondered how we work together for five days since we’d just met. It was a joy to be with her. We respected each others space and at the same time pointed out opportunities for each other, as well as keeping each other in our “sights” when a moment occured that we could photograph for the other (such as the image above). I’ve included one of her photographs of me here. She has proven to be an inspiration and source of generously given advice. She and I keep in touch and I hope to photograph with her again sometime.

About Lori Faith

Lori Faith Merritt of Photography By Faith utilizes the Art of Connection to specialize in equine and cultural images that transcend the ordinary.
This entry was posted in Equus, Mustangs, Publications and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to National Geographic: February 2009

  1. Beautiful work. Passion can be felt through your photos.

  2. photographybyfaith says:

    Thank you. When people ask me how I photograph, my answer is “connection and passion”.

  3. Reva Hord says:

    Hi Lori,
    I was reading about your experience with the SD mustangs.
    I remember when I first moved here to Maricopa I had a kidney stone attack.
    My emts were excellent. On the way to the hospital my care giver was making sure my vitals were good and I was alert and well.
    He said, do you know we have wild mustangs in Maricopa?
    I then knew God was bringing me on a path with dreams I’ve had since a girl.
    Isn’t it amazing how he never forgets the important things in our hearts.

  4. photographybyfaith says:

    I used to be an EMT/FF II in Tucson, AZ, where I live. The circle came round in one way last year when I did a calendar for the Firefighters on the same side of town I worked on!

    The very sad thing about the mustangs in Maricopa is that when the (wrongly named) Wild Horse casino came to be, the tribe actively both used the wild horses as advertising and at the same time “removed them” from their lands through un-ethical methods. The “mustangs” you are likely to see any more, if at all, in that area will be feral ranch horses. The Gila herd, some of which are shown in this entry’s image, WERE from Gila Bend area in AZ, until the BLM chose to eradicate them and the ISPMB saved the herd. Made up of mostly duns and grullas, the herd is thriving in SD…and is the herd I have have most integrated into.

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