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Horses [Hardcover]

Jean-Louis Gouraud , Yann Arthus-Bertrand
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Hardcover, Sept. 17 2004 --  

Book Description

Sept. 17 2004
No one has captured the affinity between people and horses better than Yann Arthus-Bertrand, revealing how closely the horse's destiny is linked to that of mankind and the ways in which man has fashioned horses in accordance with his needs. This majestic volume shows horses as they really are--lively, high-spirited, mettlesome, animated, prancing, supple, and even ethereal. In situ photographs portray the spirit and the soul of two hundred different horse breeds, from racehorse to workhorse to show horse, from Montana and Russia, central Asia and Argentina, Mongolia and Cameroon, and points ordinary and exotic in between. They range from the purebred Arabians, to the Lippizaner, star of the famous Spanish riding school in Vienna, to the American Appaloosa, to the sleek, patrician thoroughbred. Accompanying text recounts the rich history of our centuriesold relationship with horses, and the role each breed has played on the world stage.

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From Publishers Weekly

Over the course of 15 years, Arthus-Bertrand (Earth from Above) traveled the world—from Argentina and Iceland to Senegal and the United States—taking photographs of horses proud and humble, purebred and wild. In this visually stunning ode to Equus caballus, he gathers over 200 photos of stocky Scottish Clydesdales, lithe English Thoroughbreds, speedy American Quarterhorses and many other breeds, each reproduced in glossy, vivid color. While standard equine portraiture calls for a horse to be photographed in profile, its clean lines clearly visible against a plain canvas background, Arthus-Bertrand favors portraits that depict the horse in motion—tail flicking, mane flying—and often paired with its owner or trainer. In one particularly arresting series, he captures French saddle horses mid-leap, as if suspended over jumps in an indoor ring. He often retains the canvas background to excellent but slightly ironic effect, as when he pulls back to reveal what’s often cropped out: while one page shows a horse and his owner in sub-Saharan Africa standing on a rug in front of a plain canvas backdrop, for instance, the following page displays them in the larger context, complete with spectators, spotlights, and the rope that’s supporting the canvas strung up between two trees. There’s plenty of informative text about the different breeds, but most people will be too entranced by the gorgeous photographs to notice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jean-Louis Gouraud is widely respected as one of Europe's preeminent experts on horses, with the distinction of having traveled from Paris to Moscow on horseback.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, traveler, photographer, and former hot-air balloon pilot, is world renowned for his astonishing photography books. His seminal work, Earth from Above, has been published in numerous languages and was the basis for a worldwide photo exhibition. Arthus-Bertrand's work regularly appears in Geo, Life, National Geographic, and Paris-Match.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
It's obvious that Yann Arthus-Bertrand is passionate about photography and the horse species.

He is able to portray a standing animal and seemingly allow you to understand its feelings and culture in a photograph.

He traveled the world taking a painted canvas backdrop and lighting equipment wherever he went... photographing animals in their natural habitat - looking like it is photographed in a studio due to the standardized backdrops and lighting.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand also included local owners and cultural dress to portray the horse's natural habitat.

This is definitely one of the best animal photography books available - highly recommended!

Along with that, there is commentary on each horse species with a description of the history of the species. It is well written and interesting, even though I bought the book as a gift for the photographs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous horse portraits from every corner of the Earth Feb. 8 2005
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"...The Mongols have more than five hundred terms to describe their horses' coats." Just wait until you see Yann Arthus-Bertrand's photographs of the metallic gold, silken-coated Akhal-Teke stallion, Murgi. If Rembrandt had painted horses, they would resemble Arthus-Bertrand's photographs. When I first came upon the picture of the Russian Heavy Draft stallion Jar, I thought it WAS an oil painting. Admirers of Stubbs will very much enjoy the portraits in this book.

But "Horses" is not just another beautiful picture book. It also has a very dense, satisfying text, in the manner of a French natural history: opinionated; filled with wonderfully obscure facts; and most elegantly written (and translated). The author does ignore most North American horse breeds such as the Saddlebred and the Tennessee Walker, in a rather snooty Gallic fashion. Instead, he showcases many African, South American, and French breeds that were completely unknown to me. To someone who is used to leafing through English and American encyclopedias of horse breeds, this book will be a real eye-opener. For instance how many readers will have heard of the Augeron, the Kabardin, the Nivernais, the Trait du Maine, or the Auxois? Would they realize that the oldest horse race in France features the Auxois, which is a Burgundian draft horse?

"Horses" has over 225 color equine portraits taken over the course of fifteen years. A dark brownish-black backdrop allows the reader to focus on the horse in all of its majesty, and on the relationship between horse and human. It is truly the most beautiful book in my library.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNPARALLELED PHOTOS Oct. 12 2004
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As of last year it was reported that acclaimed French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand worked in a tree house at his home near Paris. One imagines that he does so in order to be closer to the world of nature that he loves so much.

With an aesthete's eye and top photographer's skill he produced a landmark work - The Earth From Above in which he captures our Earth in a series of aerial photographs. That volume has been the subject of several print exhibits as well as universal praise.

More than skilled with a camera, Arthus-Bertrand is one who respects the natural world. He brings this quality to his latest work, Horses, a splendid coffee table volume in which his lens captures the magnificence, grace, beauty, and playfulness of one of man's best friends.

Containing more than 200 photographs the reader is treated to views of horses at rest, at work and at play. Moreover, we see American jockeys, Mongolian herders, Spanish matadors, and other horse owners in their native dress and environment. Each photo underscores the serendipitous, interdependent relationship between horse and man.

An informative text by Jean-Louis Gouraud adds depth to this keepsake volume sure to be treasured by equine enthusiasts, photography aficionados, and lovers of the natural world.

- Gail Cooke
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Quarterhorses July 12 2005
By Marshall Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have loved horses since I was a child, especially American Quarterhorses. The pictures in this book are beautiful. I like the variety of shots showing horses in motion and even the people in the pictures were OK, though I like horses by themselves better. This book is a great resource for writing about horses because it gives lots of information about the different breeds included in the book. If I were a photographer I would take pictures of horses, too.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Fav Book! Dec 5 2005
By MoonyRocks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is my FAV book of all time. I am a horse lover and a colector of coffee table books and this is the best in the collection of well over 50.

I love the way it is not just the horses but also the people. You get an insite into the way the horses live not just your typical photo of a horse galloping or grazing in a field.

This book is well worth the money and apeals to not only horsey people but all who look at it.

If you are happy with the boring "Calander" photos then this book isn't for you, but if you wish to see horses in a different light then this book is amazing!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book bad formated size April 7 2009
By cleanupgrl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A friend of mine had this book and when I saw it I knew I had to have one. What I liked best was the size, a fairly decent coffee table size book. When I received my copy I was really disappointed because it had been shrunk down to what looked like some kids book. It lost all of its richness and appeal. Even though it says there are more pictures than the larger book every pic looked dwarfed and out of balance. I gave it as a gift to a horse lover friend but would not buy this size again. I almost sent it back, but too much trouble. If it was in the original size I first saw it in I would have rated it a 5 for sure.
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