Friday, August 21, 2009

Off With Their Heads!

Yesterday I looked at my Polo By The Bay photos again and found far too many that looked like this one above. They reminded me of the Queen from Alice In Wonderland who sentenced everyone to the same fate. “Off with their heads!” she declared imperiously. Only for me these decapitations weren’t deliberate. I have no idea why the camera was aimed more at the dirt than the riders, but there you have it.

This photo shows another of my problems when shooting; I tend to tilt my head so that the arenas look as if they’re built on hillsides. Oops! Never the less, it’s fun to go through the photos again and this time take note of my shortcomings as a photographer as well as to relive the joy of being there. I must remember next year the things I did wrong this year and try to correct them before they occur again.

This was only the second polo match that I’ve ever seen live. My very first exposure to polo happened when I was eleven years old. At that time, my father supplemented his meager University salary by working for newspapers in Detroit in the summer. But that year he took a job at The Milwaukee Journal which meant that we had to move to Milwaukee for three months, and I had to give up my friends and riding lessons for the summer. We lived in an apartment in a big city which was a culture shock in itself for me. I was not a happy camper and let everyone know it.

Probably to relieve my moody, unsocial behavior, my parents took me to see a polo match one Saturday. I was totally enthralled! I remember spending a lot of time around the ponies who were waiting for their turn in the next chukker and studying their unusual tack. The following summer, I made this polo drawing when I was twelve. My horses were a lot better than my people back then as you can see.

My summer in Milwaukee wasn’t all bad. We went to the zoo several times where there was a new baby giraffe and some zebras. And one of my father’s colleagues at the Journal had a daughter my age who was also horse crazy. Our two families got together frequently, and we even went horseback riding a couple of times. I wonder what ever became of my summer friend, Carolyn Sonneborn? We lost touch long ago.

Even though I’ve been busy doing everything but art this summer and making substantial progress in clearing away a lot of clutter and updating records, I picked out this photo to turn into my first polo painting. The rider was warming up his pony before the next chukker, and this photo shows a quiet moment before the non stop action began on the field again.

The question is, what medium shall I use? Oil or pastel? Stay tuned for updates.

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