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Rupert Sagar-Musgrave

Culture, Portfolio

For photographer Rupert Sagar-Musgrave, the horse has represented everything from a wild animal in Mongolia, to a ceremonial transport for Hindu husbands-to-be in India, to a sporting ride in the Irish countryside, to meat in an Icelandic guest house owner’s freezer. People’s connection to horses and its cultural importance are what drive his artistic curiosity and culminate in stunning images. Never posed or staged, these mise-en-scène frames are raw in their emotion. And in many of these rural global cultures, Sagar-Musgrave is capturing a unique relationship between human and horse before it virtually disappears.

Horses first captivated Sagar-Musgrave in 2004 when he visited the Pushkar fair in India, a large livestock trading fair best known for camels. He became enamored of the Marwari breed of horses and the local warrior clan to which it almost exclusively belonged. This led to a commission for a UK magazine and began his journey to document the varied bonds between people and horses. He comments, “I became curious and fascinated about the relationship and about what we owe the horse and what they in a way owe us.”

Over 12 years in 22 countries including Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Tibet, Mongolia, Central Asia, Uruguay, Argentina and Spain where he recently purchased a home, Sagar-Musgrave has accumulated a body of work. Of its culmination he says, “My intention is a book but make it a bit wider than that somehow.”

Whether they are wild or domesticated, used for work or pleasure, viewed as a deity or sustenance, the horse and its global significance will continue to inspire Rupert Sagar-Musgrave and allow us, through his photographic lense, to experience this rich and vast relationship.