These close-range portraits show the horses in their respective stalls as they lay down to sleep. The images capture these otherwise intimidating animals in tender moments, with eyes slowly drooping, muscles relaxing and their whole being given over to sleep.
Drawing inspiration from the classical portrait paintings of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age, Dumas photographed them from 2010 to 2012, exploring the relationship between her subjects and their environment.
Commissioned by the
Dumas was born in 1977 in Vlaardingen,
For Dumas, who splits her time between
She has done this with purpose.
"The disappearance of animals in our daily lives as part of society has a tremendous impact, I believe, on how we experience life and how we process and reflect on the things that happen around us," she says. "Once there was a broad variety of interaction with (working) animals that wasn't like the more common relations as we know now -- kept as pets or used as meat."
In her view, animals were much more needed in the past while they also offered solace and companionship.
Dumas believes the way we look at animals tells us about ourselves.
"The portraits of the horses in Arlington seen at night laying down resting, away from their laden task, become also just horses again," she says. "Spending time watching them drift in and out of sleep felt like witnessing a most vulnerable moment, with their large legs folded underneath and their big heads tilting on the stable floor, they feel like friendly giants to me."
In the back of the gallery, a short video shows several of the horses slowly settling into slumber. In one stall, a horse rolls back onto its side, as though pushed, as it falls into deep sleep. It's a moment of exhaustion that is completely relatable between animals and humans.
"When rolling over, their figure is no longer vertical and majestic but fragile and sometimes awkwardly looking, with their bellies sticking up," Dumas says.
"The context in which I portray my subjects keeps changing, and although I meet new characters every time, some of which I'm more drawn to than others, their animal behavior is universal."
Having since completed another series featuring the wild horses of
"I enjoy seeing the different series in light of each other."
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