Each month, Captured::Pittsburgh features local Pittsburgh photographers in their Open Air Photography Gallery, an outdoor public gallery just steps off of Walnut Street in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood. What was once a dark and empty alleyway, now hosts the works of some of Pittsburgh’s finest photographers.
RJStein is honored to have the powerful photograph, “Protect the Kingdom,” included in the January 2019 collection. This remarkable photo tells a bittersweet story, a story RJ shared during the gallery unveiling ceremony.
RJ explained, “These two horses, part of the Onaqui herd out in Utah, these wild stallions, are actually fighting at the watering hole. The stallions will come to the water, and they will fight so that their particular grouping of horses can get into the water and get enough to drink so they can survive.” RJ went on to reveal the dual meaning of the name selected for this photograph. “I’ve named this photograph “Protect the Kingdom” for two reasons. One, I look at these, these horses, as kings of their domain, kings of their land. And as you can see the fire in their eyes, there is spit coming out of this horse’s mouth. They are battling pretty intensely to protect their herd. But I also named it “Protect the Kingdom” because what these two stallions and this herd are unaware of is probably by the end of this year these horses will be dead.”
RJ learned while visiting this herd in Utah earlier this year that “The Bureau of Land Management has decided to thin this herd of 550 horses by 91% so that sheep farmers and cow ranchers can use the land…wild horses are rounded up and captured by helicopter. It’s an absolutely terrifying and traumatic event for these horses.”
As a skilled photographer, RJ excels at capturing images that tell a story much deeper than what is seen at first glance. This unique form of storytelling helps RJ to bring awareness to causes that carry strong personal meaning.
RJ’s closing remarks at the Captured::Pittsburgh photo unveiling speaks to this deep conviction: “So I really wanted to tell the story about these horses, and that their souls, they matter, that their lives matter. If you’d like, I encourage you to educate yourself on what’s going on with wild horse management in the United States. I have information on my Instagram feed, but please, I encourage you to go online and look this information up yourself…if you could, help protect their kingdom with me.”
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Sign an online petition to save the Onaqui Herd: chng.it/HNq2JdGQ
Get informed: American Wild Horse Campaign: www.americanwildhorsecampaign.org
Support a Wild Horse Sanctuary :
Skydog Ranch www.skydogranch.org
Return to Freedom www.returntofreedom.org