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30 November 2021

Building a Visual Equestrian Encyclopedia

30 November 2021 - Written by Veronica Sanchis Bencomo

Caballito (little horse in English) is Brenda Moreno’s newest multi-disciplinary personal project that responds to her family’s passion for equestrian. The project raises questions about the power of horses and their relationship with humans throughout history.

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When did you begin to photograph horses and why?

I started formally photographing them in 2009-2010, I started a project in 2011 about the family with which we are born and the one we make our own even though there are no blood ties, there, I began to think on how we related in my own family, and so, I was conscious of the horses had a big importance in our lives, basically, since I was a child everything revolved around them, they were in the photographic albums (and my childhood photos were in boxes ) were on the walls, sculptures, we got together when there was some activity around them, etc. I realised that they were a link that united us and gave meaning to those family relationships, after taking the animals only as a connection in the B to B project, since 2017, I decided to start working only on horses with the initial idea of paying them a kind of tribute, later this was taking its own form, until it came to Caballito.

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Would you say this project is a continuation of your previous personal project B-to-B?

It may be, although in B to B the horses functioned as a connecting link, here on the other hand, I am more interested in knowing the history of the animal, the anatomy, the relationship with the human being, the use that has been given to it as a tool, topics such as; control and power, reproduction, the different activities carried out, races, as well as the importance they have within the context of human evolution. Somehow, I think that horses will always be present in my projects, I see them frequently, they have a meaning with which I connect in a special way, therefore, in Caballito I touch on the subject of heart rate and the influence that this anatomical issue and that animal nobility can have on our own state of mind, and speaking more universally, the horses possess a very powerful symbology that can have different readings.

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Graphics, collages and illustrations seem to be an important process in your projects, could you tell us more how this other media comes together with your photographic practice?

I started my photographic training when I was very young, then I continued with Graphic Design at University where I experimented into other plastic areas that also influenced my own language, for me the process within a project is extremely important, I work making work notebooks, in which I explore with discarded photos or that "do not work" within an edition, it is then where these resources that you mention, allow me to make use of this material, in this way the meaning of the image is transformed, it allows me to experiment, play with the image and work with the formality of the medium format, which is the type of negative I work with.

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Brenda, one part I am very intrigued about in your series is your access and proximity to the horses, how have you gained such access to the lives of these animals?

I grew up surrounded by animals, especially horses, it is a very familiar world for me, that is why I am interested in the relationship that is generated with human beings. At first my family and I were close to the charrería - that is the Mexican national sport - currently my father and my brother are dedicated to raising racehorses, that gives me the privilege of knowing that world and delving into what happens beyond with the horses that could be at home, observing and being curious. This has also helped me to relate to people or places who have horses, it is like having a radar where whenever they appear, I am interested in exploring and photographing them. Moreover, ancient sky watchers imagined that the arrangement of the prominent stars formed pictures, and associated them with aspects of nature or their myths and animals, those bright lights in the universe functioned as a guides that oriented about the time and geography, this horse singular universe, has in every particularity beauty and destruction and like the stars, in my life they have also functioned as a guide.

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Are you also planning to publish a book with this series?

Yes, I'm already working on the dummy, I hope next year it can be published. I am very interested in the language with which you can work within the photobook, the edition, the design, the materials of this format they provide a lot of power to the project, since every detail counts. It seems to me a very useful support for the project to travel to other places, I usually contemplate the photobook from the beginning of my projects because this format was an important part of my photographic background.

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All photos © Brenda Moreno, from the series Caballito

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Brenda Moreno is a Mexican photographer and graphic designer. She published her first photobook B to B in Co-Edition with Witty Kiwi Publisher. Brenda has participated in international individual and collective exhibitions, as well as festivals and photographic presentations. She's part of the Young Creators Fellowship, granted by FONCA in Mexico. Follow her on Instagram

Verónica Sanchis Bencomo is a Venezuelan photographer and curator based in New York. In 2014, she founded Foto Féminas, a platform that promotes the works of female Latin American and Caribbean photographers. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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This article is part of In Focus: Latin American Female Photographers, a monthly series curated by Verónica Sanchis Bencomo focusing on the works of female visual storytellers working and living in Latin America.

Written by

Veronica Sanchis Bencomo

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