“Instead of focusing her photography on the horses that frequent the town, talented photographer Linda Louw set out to capture the shyer horses in and around Kaapsehoop.”
The book celebrates these amazing creatures, with the horse being the only animal that has played such a pivotal part in mankind’s history.
Have you ever taken an early morning drive up to Kaapsehoop in winter, with the sun just peeking over the horizon and the early morning mists still covering the ground? The town is shrouded in that haze, but if you look closely amongst the rocks and trees, you will soon see the shadowy shapes of Kaapsehoop’s most beloved populace: the wild horses.
Linda Louw is an independent photographer and now an independent publisher who released a coffee table book filled with exquisite images taken of the wild horses in Kaapsehoop. Capturing their daily routines, the aim of the book is to raise awareness about these beautiful creatures.
Linda’s journey into photography started in her early 20’s. She had the opportunity to learn darkroom techniques while establishing a firm, artistic foundation in the principles of photography. Striking black and white images quickly became her trademark style.
After living in the quiet town of White River for many years, she packed up her life and moved to the picturesque village in the mountains, working at the Kaapsehoop Horse Trails. Each day she would see the wild horses, which presented her with the perfect opportunity to pick up her camera and snap pictures of the day to day lives of the wild horses. Few people have been so lucky as to get the kind of intimate insight into the lives of these often elusive animals, and Linda took full advantage by taking photos at every opportunity.
One day Linda was paging through a coffee table book at a friend’s house. It featured images of horses in Namibia and inspiration struck.
She thought to herself, “Why the wild horses of the Kaapsehoop escarpment have never been documented, not only is it a beautiful environment, but they are also the largest free-roaming population in SA?”
It took 6 years to bring her vision to life, but Linda was determined. With her background in graphic design, she had no trouble laying out a striking book but she faced her biggest challenge when it came to getting the book out there. She did plenty of research about how to get her book published and eventually decided to do it herself. In the style of her fiercely independent photographic journey, she did things on her own terms. Self-publishing would give her full control, allowing her to publish the book she had envisioned, rather than compromising her vision.
Along with support from others, including those who assisted her and those who encouraged her to bring her dream to life, the book was completed. Linda has done everything herself; the story, the design, the layout and the photography.
Narrowing down 10 000 photos, taken over the years, to 160 captivating images spread out in a 200-page book; Wild Horses of the Kaapsehoop Escarpment was released.
Talking about her book, Linda says, “My aim was to create more awareness of these horses. A lot of people are still unaware of their existence, and those who do know, often only know about the handful that hangs around the village, the ones who have become quite used to people. It is elusive, seldom-seen true wild horses that I focused on. And whether it is the “village crowd” or the elusive ones, they do add magic to the area. The book project also hopes to aid in securing the future of these animals as there is no official body looking after these horses, only individuals who out of their own time and means act as guardians when it comes to injuries and diseases or orphaned foals.”
A Brightly Lit Future
Bringing the book to life was a true accomplishment, but far from the end of her dreams. Following the publishing of the book, Linda continues to work on her photography. She says photography resonates with her soul. When you look at her photos, you can truly feel the passion she has for the art she is creating. She sees that photography is about more than creativity, it’s about more than art. Photography has the power to bring attention to causes and opens up a world of ideas.
Of her approach to photography, Linda said, “My point of departure is that of inspiration and expression of emotion and ideas, to create impact and to inspire, to challenge and to celebrate life.”