“It’s a real pleasure to be around the field. It’s my way of being part of the polo family and being with horses,” polo photographer Laure Philippine tells POLO LADY. “I feel a sensation of freedom and well-being—a natural elegance is everywhere on a field. I feel lucky for that.”
And lucky she is, indeed, as this journey behind the lens nurtures her passionate and creative spirit. Taking with her a love for horses and an innate interest in photography, it’s inevitable that Laure will find herself clicking away around the polo field.
Although it took her 15 years before she took her camera to the arena (she discovered the sport in 1999 but started her polo photography career in 2014!), it was a decision that offered liberty for her unique artistic expression. Because images were taken in a match—or even off it—offer both action and emotion, it gives shutterbugs like herself enough challenge to capture a good story they want to tell.
For Laure, her priorities when taking shots are movement as well as the unusual and sometimes comical moments. She’s also on the lookout for instant emotions and the collaboration between the horse, rider, and groom. And when opportunities come by, she loves portraits of people watching the match—along with their dogs!
Having this abundance of objects to capture inspires the polo photographer to grow further in the scene—without limitations. Describing her work as images that transition among reportage, atmospheric photography, and creative photography, she fuels her fire with the limitless options the sport lays in front of her. She’s also free to choose her aesthetics, from the time she took a photo down to the intricacies of post-processing.
On what she learned from her stint as a lenswoman, Laure says it’s the way that we understand people through their shots. “You discover people differently. We can see a little piece of their soul for a flash of time in a stolen photo,” she explains.
The creative is also glad that, similar to the world of polo photography, women continue to thrive in polo. “I have many friends among the lady players,” Laure shares. “I’m fascinated by their temperament of a warrior, strength of character, and how nothing seems to frighten them. I understand so much of their passion.”
Holding on to the freedom that polo photography lends her, Laure has already lined up the games she will be attending in the coming months. She lists down the Polo Rider Cup and the Open de France Feminin in Chantilly as tournaments in which she will surely be present. The shutterbug is also thinking of going to Deauville for Coupe d’Or or any other games in Chantilly.
And maybe, she dreams, she will be able to attend the Argentine Open in Palermo and visit Sotogrande and England soon.
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.