When Beatrice was little, she was our shy girl. Now she is the Queen of our Fold. With her beautiful horns and strong body, she has an air of authority that our other cows, Clementine, Adelaide and Annabel, respect. Beatrice is also protective of her Highland sisters, staying watchful for predators and chasing away the other farm animals so her girls can eat their hay in peace. She isn’t all business, even “Miss Bossy Pants” has a soft side. She loves having her neck brushed. She’ll strain her neck, pointing her nose in the air as I run the comb down her neck. She stands in a meditative state, until she’s had enough attention, and then everyone else can have their turn. Beatrice has a playful side as well. I often find her running with the other heifers in a light hearted game of chase in the pasture. Like many of us, she is a wonderfully complicated gal. Gentle when she can be. Strong when she needs to be ❤️
*Available in 4 sizes: 12x12, 24x24, 40x40 and 48x48
*2 week production time
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Val Shaff - Artist Statement
The Animal portraits of Patina Farm
My sepia toned, environmental portraits of farm animals are as warm and soft as their subjects. I hope to create a connection for the viewer with a sense of the individual spirit of the subject.
I made these photographs exclusively for Patina Farm. When I am in the field with my subjects all of my senses are happy so close to the earth. Smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, I grow very quiet and move slowly . I make my job a bit easier by photographing animals who are living in loving environments and not being farmed industrially. I believe that if I can get my subject to be engaged with me that what will be revealed is an essential aspect of their character and personality.
For the sepia toned environmental work I look for timeless environments that do not refer to the presence of people . I want to feel a sense of the primordial world inhabited by the others.
When I am photographing in the field I work with good old fashion film. I like working slowly and picking my moments carefully. The marriage of analog and digital gives me the best of both worlds.
When I photograph against black ground, I am working with high digital technology . My medium format Hasselblad digital camera sees things more sharply than I do. These images refer to the paintings of the Dutch Masters . I like to think that I am creating small masterpieces by simply doing justice to the likeness of my subjects. In response to my love of painting, I print on the finest canvas available for digital printing and it is done by a small family owned company in the United States. This medium allows the subject to imbue a space with a presence that I find otherwise obscured by glass .
My animal portraits are made with the hope that living with animal iconography is uplifting . It fills our homes with characters that express innocence , authenticity , humor , nobility , mystery, steadfastness ; In short the animals express and affirm our own values . We are all connected as we share the ground beneath our feet .