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Travel The World With Irina Kazaridi’s Polo & Horses

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Text by Heather Buchanan – Photos by Irina Kazaridi

Photographer Irina Kazaridi celebrates her new book Polo & Horses noting, “For me horses are eternal objects of inspiration with so much to admire.” Following the fast -paced world of high goal polo, she has traveled to some of the most amazing destinations in the world including St. Moritz, St. Tropez, Deauville, Chantilly, Windsor, Palm Beach, Sotogrande, Dubai, and Argentina. “The idea of creating this book is a lifelong dream of mine,” says Kazaridi, “I’m honored that La Dolfina supported this project. The best photos from my collection were selected: top polo destinations, and portraits of the best polo players and their legendary horses.”

Irina comments, “For me each polo/ equestrian destination has its personal and particular beauty. I love travel, and I also love to come back home to the French Riviera where my photography studio is based. Here I can recover my energy and enjoy all the post production work after long shoots around the world.” She has worked hard to earn the trust of the players to capture not only stunning images of the fierce competition but also candids behind the scenes to reveal the world of these private athletes. She explains, “The best way to interact with my subjects is to make them feel that I’m one of them. I’m trying to be open with them, feel their vibes and make a connection.”

For Kazaridi getting special access to her subjects is sometimes a matter of chance and good luck. “Sometimes I’m waiting for a week, sometimes it takes years, and for some I’m still waiting,” she says. “To have access to famous horses is also very difficult and their time is also limited. Sometimes I have to be at a place at 5 or 6 in the morning to shoot possibly only 10 minutes, like what happened in Dubai a couple of weeks before the World Cup Race of Maydan. We could only shoot early morning when the air is still cool, and right after it they have to be back to get ready for competition.”

One of her most memorable moments was shooting the legendary Cuartetera, one of the best polo ponies of Adolfo Cambiaso. Irina says, “I had only two minutes to shoot. It was in Cañuelas a couple of days before the big final of Argentinian Open in 2015 where she played her last Abierto. In that moment, I had to be really concentrated to keep control of my emotions and do my best in a short time in unpredictable conditions, because I knew there would never be a second time. Every moment is unique and never repeats again.”

So what is Kazaridi’s life philosophy? « ’Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ (Confucius) Photography became an important part of my life. I can’t imagine my days without shooting or post production work. Another important part of my life is my family. We love art and photography and it’s great to travel together for my photo projects. Also I’ve been practicing yoga for many years and love to snorkel with my small camera. This lifestyle is a privilege of living on the sea.”