It was the sound of horses hooves clattering on the pavement outside his London house that awakened Henry Dallal to his calling to photograph horses. As one of the many thousands who fled Iran after the fall of the Shah in 1979, the photographer had, until that moment, found himself at a loss in London.
‘I was living in a tiny flat and I was pretty depressed because I really didn’t know what to do with myself,’ he says. ‘One morning, I suddenly heard hooves trotting down the street. I looked out of the window and there were the horses of the Household Cavalry. It was the most amazing sight and it gave me that spark to get out of bed and get going again.’
It was to be another 15 years before he began taking photographs professionally of the officers of the Household Cavalry and their horses stationed at the army barracks in Knightsbridge after a friend who was serving with them invited him. “As I rode more often, I asked if I could bring my camera,’ he says. ‘At first, I started taking pictures from a few metres away, then pretty soon, I was right up close.’
Since then he has photographed the Queen with her horses and royals from other countries with an interest in horses. He has photographed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, and his wife, Princess Haya, and a trip to Bahrain, where the royal family asked Dallal to capture the spirit of its annual endurance race and the Sultan of Oman has also commissioned Dallal to photograph his cavalry horses.
‘I love everything about the noble horse, its smell, soft coat, character, motion and wonder what is inside its brain. It just captivates me’ he says.
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