Welcome to the Blog for Bronwen Healy Photography. The Benchmark in photographic excellence. Full Website:

28 July 2011

The Right to Choose

I have chosen, over the past 15 years, to concentrate my photographic activities as a professional freelance photographer to the Australian Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Industry.  I've been told, both directly and indirectly, that I'm one of the best out there.  That the images leap out at you, and can on occasions take people's breath away.  And that people can feel the connection I have with each horse I photograph, and that they love the way my love of the sport and the horse comes through in each image.

So here's a tricky little issue.

Question:  Say you, either as:
  1.  a member of the public that either liked racing in general, or had a real fondness for a particular horse, jockey or trainer; or
  2. a member of the industry, be it trainer, jockey, horse stud, etc; or
  3. the owner of a horse that you paid good money to race
were  told that you were only allowed to purchase an image from one photographic source.  What would you feel about this?   And what if, say you had a particular horse or race you were after, and you carried out an exhaustive search on images available, including those provided by the 'approved' source.  What is, during the course of this search for an image you like, you came across my work, and my images leapt out at you?  What if you found an image that was exactly what you were after? And what if no other photographer had an image that you liked as much, or wanted as badly?  

The question is - AND I'VE LOVE TO INVITE COMMENTS HERE FROM MY READERS - should you be allowed to buy that photograph?  Either as a print to hang on your wall for personal purposes, or to put in your stud's annual stallion book, or on your training website, etc?

And if you said yes to the above questions - AGAIN, COMMENTS WOULD BE TERRIFIC - what would your response be if you were told that you HAD to purchase a different image from the 'approved' photographer, even if you didn't like it as much?

And, final question, again, as either an occasional or regular visitor to either this Blog or my website: would the Racing and Breeding Industry be worse off if it was no longer viable for a photographer such as myself to continue to work within the industry?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.......

So You Think.  2010 WS Cox Plate.

04 July 2011

Looking back at 2010-2011

The 2010-2011 Racing Season is rapidly drawing to a close.  Our racing seasons don't run July to June like the financial year calendar, rather it runs July to August, however for me, the season is over from a photographic perspective.

My work of course covers two important components:  (1) of the racehorse at the track because, as Les Carlyon puts it, "the true arena is, has been, and always will be, the racecourse", and (2) stallions at stud.  It is fair to say that on both fronts, the 2010-2011 season will for me be remembered for really special images of true thoroughbred superstars.

On the track it's been world champions So You Think and Black Caviar.  And in addition to these two out and out champions, there's been More Joyous, Hay List and Hot Danish.  There was the 2yo juggernaut that was Darley Australia, who gave us Sepoy (Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper) and Helmet (AJC Sires, Champagne Stakes).  My little Queanbeyan filly Karuta Quen provided much joy.   I met the Sheikh on Melbourne Cup Day, copped an absolute drowning on VRC Derby Day, and visited and photographed on Macedon Lodge for the first time.  Oh, and the little matter of having an image published on an Australia Post Stamp set, and finally collaborating with the great writer Les Carlyon.  There were some terribly sad aspects to 2010-2011.  Personally I was devastated by the death of Hot Danish, and Stathi Katsidis died of accidental causes on the eve the WS Cox Plate.

On the farms, it was capturing horses such as High Chaparral (sire of the mighty So You Think), Medaglia d'Oro (sire of US Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra), Street Cry (sire of the mighty Zenyatta), Big Brown (winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes) and Bernardini (also a Preakness and Travers winner) for the first time.  Throw in Lonhro and Denman just for good measure, and of course a long overdue reunion with their champion dad and grand-dad, the great Octagonal whom I've not seen properly since 1997.  To cap it off, we got all three horses together, in a now famous image of the trio at Darley.  And returning to established Australian champion stallions like Redoute's Choice, who finally sparkled and danced in his paddock for me, the gorgeous More Than Ready, up and coming stallions Not a Single Doubt and Starcraft, and industry stalwarts in Danzero and Flying Spur.  And I would be remiss in not mentioning photographing some of the 2010 foal crop of John Singleton's elite Strawberry Hills band of mares, with a full sister to More Joyous and the first foals of champion racemares Tuesday Joy and Samantha Miss.

What more could the Horse Mad Girl ask for?  Very little!  Well, actually, 'please sir, I'd like some more!' Ever in search of the perfect image, I hope it will all unfold again, and that 2011-2012 will be just as special.

Apache Cat at Legends
Bernardini.  Darley Australia.

Big Brown at Vinery.

Black Caviar

Lightning Stakes. 
Newmarket Handicap

Standing guard over the famous saddle and cap.

Two Legends of the Turf.  Cummings and Hogan.
Octagonal, Lonhro and Denman.  Darley Australia.

Exceed and Excel - sire of Helmet
Dear Spur - Flying Spur at Arrowfield

Hay List.  Currently battling a serious leg infection.  2nd only to Superstar Black Caviar
Wayward, naughty, but brilliant is Helmet
High Chaparral.  Sire of champion So You Think

Hot Danish.  Broke my heart when succumbing to a leg infection in April 2011.
Hot Danish at the Pool.  Last photos I ever took of the great mare.
Hot Danish - last time I photographed her winning, in the 2010 Premiere
"Lilly" - Karuta Queen

Neville and Barbara Layt, a filly called Karuta Queen brought them back together
Champion Stallion Elect for 2010-2011:  The great Lonhro.
Megalia d'Oro.  Glorious

The full moon at Arrowfield Stud.
More Joyous - Superstar.

The black horse again.  More Than Ready.  Sire of More Joyous.

Not a Single Doubt.  Sire of my Karuta Queen
Cox Plate Day - Bart Cummings finally makes it back to the track after ill health to watch his champion So You Think win the Cox Plate for the 2nd successive year.

The great stallion Redoute's Choice at Arrowfield Stud.
Took up Jessica's "My Little Pony" ferris wheel to help him put his ears forward!  He's sussing out Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash!

Saw Saintly again.  Always nice..
Discovered had photographed Sepoy as a weanling!!!!

Sepoy - Blue Diamond
Sepoy - Golden Slipper

Shocking at the Pool.  He won the Australian Cup in 2011.
Sigh..  I miss him.  He's just walloped Workforce in the G1 Eclipse Stakes in England.  He is of course So You Think.  I suppose the next time I photograph him will be as a stallion when he returns to Coolmore Australia.



Street Cry

Street Sense
Workout at Macedon Lodge
Dear old Zip..  Zipping at Macedon Lodge.