Photographer Uli Weber discusses the making of his beautiful new book The Allure of Horses, meeting riders from all parts of the equestrian world, and his own relationship with horses
TEXT Astrid Hiort IMAGES Uli Weber
Having captured the faces of Kate Moss, Eddie Redmayne, Alexander McQueen, and Sting for the pages of Vogue, Elle, GQ, and Arena as well as the iconic race cars at the Goodwood Revival, Uli Weber has entered various worlds through his camera lens. Now, his meeting with the wonders of the equestrian world are being revisited through his newly published book, The Allure of Horses.
Published by Assouline, it portrays a wide range of people from the horse world and was originally commissioned by Tatler under the editorship of Kate Reardon.
“It was a wonderful experience to meet all these different equestrians. You are there to celebrate their horsemanship, their art, their animals, and so you give the best you can and it becomes a very special moment of the day. Obviously, they know it’s something quite unique, and they make an effort for you to be there, because it’s celebrating what they love doing best,” Uli Weber begins.
The photographs celebrate almost every inch of equestrianism from kids in Ireland to farmers with their plowing horses, polo players, the Household Cavalry, and Lady Amanda Harlech wearing Chanel haute couture posing next to her horse.
“I certainly wanted to cover as many aspects as I could. I thought that was very important, because this love for horses is classless. It’s simply a unique kind of love for this beautiful animal,” Weber explains. “And then spending the day in the life of a household guard and following them to see their routine was very intriguing. It’s great to dip into a lot of different worlds for a very short and intense period of time.”
So, is it true what they say – never work with children or horses?
“Absolutely not, I think they are highly intelligent animals. But they do get scared if you have big light reflectors around them, they don’t like that. I have done quite a few horse shots before – for example, the cover for my first book called Portraits was Daniel Radcliffe with a horse. I do like my controlled set-up portraits, but I also like this kind of sports photography and reportage, where you have to get your best picture in the moment rather than repair things. So it’s up to you and your eye, which is a challenge, but I love doing it. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone,” he says.
To celebrate the launching of the book, Assouline invited the public to an intimate exhibition at its Maison Assouline boutique located on Piccadilly – projecting the special meeting with the world of equestrians, and connecting viewers to the majestic animals. An experience Weber encountered himself in the process:
“It’s no secret I’m not a great horseman at all. I’ve ridden horses briefly when I was younger, but it’s just a joy to look at it. Sometimes you don’t need to do things in order to really enjoy them. And I found the same with this project; I was so lucky to be invited into that world with so many different people, and they are so committed. And the love they have for their horses – I don’t think there are many animals in the world who command such respect, love and dedication and vice versa. You could see there definitely was an incredible bond between the rider and horse. It was just wonderful to see.”
The Allure of Horses is available in book stores and on assouline.com at £110