For Release: Friday, September 15, 2017
Constance Jaeggi Debuts Equine Photography Exhibition at Cowgirl Museum
Exhibition reveals dynamic characteristics of horses in 21 large-format, black-and-white photographs. Jaeggi artfully uses light and shadow to sculpt each scene.
FORT WORTH, Texas —The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame will premiere Aspects of Power, Light and Motion, the debut exhibition of equine photographs by Constance Jaeggi, the successful rancher and champion cutting horse rider who reveals the individual personality of horses through her fine-art photography. The exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in the museum’s Anne W. Marion Gallery.
For her first exhibition, Jaeggi (pronounced: Jay-guee) focuses on the horse as a dynamic being while capturing its sense of motion in a still frame. For each portrait, she takes horses out of their natural environment to photograph them in the indoor studio she built on her ranch, the J5 Horse Ranch in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas, the cutting horse capital of the world. This enables her to create a setting to work with light and shadow to accentuate the desired characteristic of each horse.
“I photograph the horses with no halters or means of restraints,” Jaeggi said. “It is a soft and natural process. Unrestrained, horses tend to be incredibly cooperative if you know how to talk to and coax them. In many ways, I feel that my process is similar to the one when competing with a horse. I see it as a partnership rather than as a relationship of force. Each horse interacts differently in the studio setting. Some horses are more comfortable than others and thrive from the attention; as a result, their individuality becomes apparent.”
Jaeggi worked for more than a year to create the collection of 21 large-format, black-and-white photographs, ranging in size from 15″ x 15″ to 39.4″ x 70″. She titled each photograph to reflect the personality of the horse or horses featured: Adonis, Black as Ink, Blondie, Budvar, Child of the Mountain, Cold Shoulder, Dancer in the Dark, Daybreak, Don’t Look Away, Equus, Hercules, Night and Day, Rat Pack, Reverence, Running Man, Summer Moon, That Girl’s Got Attitude, The New Dress, The Rocking Horse, Ultima Ratio Regum and White Peacock. Of the 10 horses featured, seven are cutting horses, two are Clydesdales and one is a Paint Horse stallion.
“Constance is an amazing talent, and her work displays a very distinct and unique sensibility,” said Patricia Riley, executive director of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. “Her knowledge and love of horses is apparent, and she captures her appreciation of the horse brilliantly in each photograph. We are thrilled to be able to host her first exhibition and give our visitors a chance to experience her work.”
An Instinct for Cutting and Photography
“As much of my day revolves around caring for, breeding and showing cutting horses, I came naturally to the idea of exploring their mystery and beauty through photography,” Jaeggi said. “When I pick up my camera, I am partly documenting my daily activities and partly trying to capture a specific equine esthetic. Photography is particularly interesting to me because there is a constant tension between the aspect of documentation and my esthetic concerns. The trinity (lens, photographer and subject) is what appeals to me in photography.”
Jaeggi’s ability to capture the essence of the horses in her photographs reflects her extensive experience as a cutting horse rider, which began in France and Switzerland during high school. In 2009, she moved from Geneva to Fort Worth to pursue her dream of being a competitive cutting horse rider and cowgirl. She attended Texas Christian University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Dec. 2013 with a major in marketing and a minor in energy technology and management.
Starting in 2011, she began to realize her dream. She won the 2011 National Cutting Horse Association XTO Energy Super Stakes Classic Non-Pro Championship, the 2014 NCHA Mercuria Non-Pro World Championship, and in 2015, she was inducted into the NCHA Non- Pro Rider Hall of Fame.
“One of the appeals of our sport of cutting is the fact that you are dealt a set of circumstances that constantly change, and then you have to do the best you can with what you have to work with,” Jaeggi said. “Photography tends to be similar. I enjoy not always being entirely in control of what is captured. Perhaps this partly explains the instinctive nature of my work.”
Chronology of Constance Jaeggi
Constance Jaeggi was born in London in 1990 to Swiss parents. After a brief move to Burgundy, France, her family moved to Geneva, Switzerland, when she was ten. She continued her middle school in the French-speaking system, which meant learning a new language. She’s actually trilingual: besides French, she speaks English and German, her mother tongue.
A few years later, she started riding horses and discovered the sport of cutting in Bons-en-Chablais, a small French town close to the Swiss border. Cutting was a little-known discipline in Europe at the time, practiced by a small group of pioneers, and it sparked a desire in her to discover America. The cowboy way of life captivated her; it was so different from her suburban upbringing.
In the summer of 2007 while in high school, she traveled to a ranch in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas, to ride with Chubby Turner, a world champion cutting horse rider and trainer. She and her family had met Turner at a horse sale the year before. She decided that Texas was where she wanted to be.
In 2009, she moved from Geneva to Fort Worth to attend Texas Christian University and to pursue her dream of being a competitive cutting horse rider and cowgirl. Continuing to train with Turner at his ranch west of Fort Worth paid off. She won the National Cutting Horse Association XTO Energy Super Stakes Classic Non-Pro Championship in 2011. That same year, the Jaeggi family established the J Five Horse Ranch northwest of Weatherford, where they breed, raise, train and ride cutting horses. The J Five name originated from the collaboration of her father, mother and two younger brothers, and it reflects the ranch’s family-oriented lifestyle.
Jaeggi earned a bachelor’s degree from TCU in Dec. 2013 with a major in marketing and a minor in energy technology and management. For the next year, she hauled for the National Cutting Horse Association Non-Pro World Championship series and won the 2014 NCHA Mercuria Non-Pro World Championship. In 2015, she was inducted into the NCHA Non-Pro Rider Hall of Fame.
To refine her photographic skills, Jaeggi completed the photography program at the New York Film Academy in New York City in 2015 where she learned how to incorporate studio lighting into her passion for horses.
About the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
Established in 1975, the Cowgirl is the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West. Fostering an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance these women inspire, the Cowgirl is the legacy of legends. The museum is considered an invaluable national educational resource for its exhibits, research library, rare photograph collection and dynamic educational programs for grades K-12 and adults. The museum is located at 1720 Gendy St., Fort Worth, Texas 76107; for information, call 817.336.4475.
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Contact: Bill Lawrence, 817.879.0515; BLawr1@charter.net