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Photographer Captures Beauty of Kentucky Horse Culture

Wade Giles, a professional photographer, has his series "Grounded in Bluegrass" on display at the Ridgewood Coffee Company.

Before he could walk, he rode. Now 27, Wade Giles is documenting the majesty and power of horses with his photography series, "Grounded in Bluegrass."

A southern man who grew up in Texas and Louisiana with a degree in finance from LSU, Giles began the transition to professional photographer in 2010 while attending classes at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan.

Although the Upper Saddle River resident also shoots landscape scenes from Kentucky, the primary muse, naturally, has become horses. It's fitting – Giles also shows horses competitively and will be heading out to Kentucky for the World Championships in Louisville next week. 

"It's a very personal journey," Giles said of the photo series, which can be seen on the walls of . "It's what I love and what I'm passionate about. The horses have given so much to me in my life; they've been there when nothing else was and no one else was. So this is a way to give back to them."

He initially had been apprehensive in using horses for the subject of his art.

"My biggest fear when I began to muster up the courage to photograph horses was I wasn't going to portray the respsect that they deserve," he said. "I was fearful at first but had professors encourage me to do so. I feel like I've accomplished that goal." 

Giles said he wants to capture how the horse would like to be portrayed, while drawing from his own emotional response.

"I wanted to show that the horses are so big and strong, yet so vulnerable to us as human beings," he said. "They rely on us completely; the mutual respect we should have for one another to co-exist is a big thing for me." 

Giles' photographs can be seen at the Ridgewood Coffee Company through the end of August. Thirteen-by-eighteen prints are $200 and 26X36 prints go up to $3,500.

I photograph on how I feel the horse wants to be portrayed, along with my emotions at the time." 

To check out more of Giles' work, head to his website (wadegilesphotography.com) or shoot him an e-mail wade@wadegilesphotography.com.

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