Jed Wormhoudt: Relationships in Pictures

By Annie Shaw

“Show me your horse, and I will tell you who you are” the old saying goes. Apparently, you can also tell a lot by a person’s choice of drinking vessel.

Jed and his trusted Lipizzaner
gelding, Guy.

New York bred photographer Jed Wormhoudt’s preferred Champagne glass is distinguishing. It’s a coupe, by the way, and to me that symbolizes his Old World eccentricity and joie de vivre. Similarly, he delights in riding his adored Lipizzaner gelding Guy in the thoughtful art of dressage, and involved me in a solid debate over homburg hats versus others with much less fortunate brim styles as soon as we arrived. He quickly turns to critiquing his own work much too harshly, with the self-deprecating attention to detail and sense of humor he’s loved for.

As a subject of Hans Namuthas a child, and an admirer of Irving Penn, Winslow Homer and Henri Cartier-Bresson, his influences span commercial and formal art genres, linked by a candid quality that is evident in Wormhoudt’s work. His deep affection for his subjects human or animal is apparent in every image.

“Our beloved animals can, in a brief moment, bring out the best in us,” he says. “We try to find and photograph that moment.”

To control his lighting perfectly, and maintain a peaceful and focused set, Wormhoudt shoots only in his studio at Willows Rampant Farm, a beautiful home sitting in a meadow buried deep in the towering redwood forests of Loma Mar between La Honda and Pescadero. His walls are hung with wonderful images developed as a result of this fine-tuning, each one with a story of great people and their (usually even more highly regarded) animal friends behind it. The carefully arranged compositions and minutely pored-over lighting are just a stage for the bonds his subjects share, glowing through Wormhoudt’s lens. Find out more: www.beastsandtheirpeople.com.

Jed Wormhoudt photographs his subjects in front of a huge backdrop that he assembles on his property in Loma Mar. Pictured here are, by human and animal, George and Scooter.
Xela and the Goats.
Zsuzsa and Peggy Sue.
Fiona and Limerick.

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