This is one of the most amazing photographs of a horse I’ve ever seen! The image has been used in a large number of Internet memes, videos and viral images over the years. But you probably won’t know the name of the photographer or the story behind it. That’s because the photographer’s name was cropped out of his photo and the image took on a life of its own. But here’s the real story behind the picture from the photographer himself.
Photographer Tim Hartson was vacationing with his family in Morrow Bay, California when he spotted a group of people riding their horses on a beach.
Tim approached the riders and asked if they rode their horses on the beach often. One rider told him they were actually visiting from Colorado and this was the first time their horses had seen the ocean. Tim was taking a few photos when one woman was trying to persuade her horse to go into the water.
Tim explained what happened next and how he got his now famous photo:
“The water began to rush around the horse and perhaps because of the sound of the crashing waves, the horse started to rear up on its hind legs. The rider of the horse, grabbing the reins, tried to calm her horse and stay safe from the point of which her horse would land on its front feet. In the moment, I’m not sure what was faster, the clicking of my camera or the beating of my heart. It was actually pretty scary as I thought the horse would possibly injure the lady.”
“What happened next really blew me away. The horse jumped straight up out of the water and I just became part of the cliché, at the right place at the right time. Click, click, click.”
Thankfully, both the horse and the woman were OK and Tim captured the incredible shot of a horse in mid air.
But that’s not the end of Tim’s photo story. Thrilled with his photo, Tim posted it to his Facebook business page and it took off. “Almost immediately I had hundreds of Likes, Comments and Shares,” Tim said. “It was my once in a lifetime shot and it was going viral. Very cool!”
Tim was still new to photography when he took the photos around 4 years ago. He put his logo way off to the left side of the shot. He described, “I didn’t think much about it but I wanted my logo to be subtle as to not take away from the photograph. I placed my logo way off to the left side of the shot. Too far off, it turned out.”
About two weeks after posting his photo to social media, the cool factor was about to wear off. Tim began to get messages that his photograph was stolen. The image was appearing all over the Internet – in memes, videos and viral images. But his name was nowhere to be seen on any of the photos.
“This was confirmed when I saw a copy of my shot with someone else’s logo on it. My poorly place logo was cropped out and someone else’s was added at the bottom along with a funny quote. I wasn’t laughing. I was so angry,” explained Tim. “I started to appeal to all of the webpages to remove the plagiarized image. Just about all of them did, but I soon found that I could not keep up with the number of sites posting the shot. Although it was flattering that my shot had gone viral, it felt like it was no longer my photograph. It was stolen. I had learned a lesson on logo placement and became part of what many photographers have experienced and continue to fight.”
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