Henry Dallal on how he got to meet the queen, and photograph her

South China Morning Post

29 June 2017

Iranian photographer Henry Dallal on how to make the queen smile for a photo, his lifelong passion for horses and keeping your cool when being charged by armed cavalry

BY TESSA CHAN
29 JUN 2017

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I was born in Iran in 1955, and my love of horses and photography is due to my parents. My mother took me horse riding at the age of nine, and my father gave me a box Brownie then, too. It’s a wonderful old film camera, very basic. My father was always taking pictures, so I thought it was a normal thing to do.

After studying marketing at univer­sity in Colorado, in the United States, I returned to Iran to join my father’s import and export business. But then the 1979 revolution happened, so we ran away to England, where I sold my first photo in 1980. After two years, I moved back to Colorado. I returned to London in 1994 and have not left since.

One day, I got lucky: I saw the Household Cavalry (the queen’s official bodyguard) in Knightsbridge, and I was invited to ride one of the horses – every morning they invite a few civilians to ride. After that, I started taking pictures of the cavalry all the time until I became invisible to them. I had no idea I would end up making a book about them. It was fascinating for me to see the colours, the horses, the uniforms.

In 1999, I was invited to exhibit my work at Kensington Palace. I was involved in the property investment business and it suddenly occurred to me, why wait to retire to go and photograph a remote tribe somewhere? The tribe I’m looking for is right here, next door to me in London.

“The art of portrait photography is to be able to take a single picture that tells the story of the life of that person. You have to forget about how famous or powerful a person is. You become just two people talking, and you take a picture”

For my 2003 book, Pageantry & Performance, I wanted to record everything the Household Cavalry does. I spent six years embedded with them. The public never sees how hard they work behind the scenes, they only see a parade once a year. There’s a history, a tradition that goes back 350 years.

The commander of the cavalry – the boss – is Her Majesty the Queen. It’s very symbolic. But her personal passion is horse racing. She owns racehorses and she rides her horses all the time, still. She knew that I like horses, too, so I was invited to meet her in 2001, and to do her portrait for her golden jubilee (in 2002).

I’ve been very honoured since: my latest portrait of her is the official portrait for her 90th birthday in 2016. I found a sea of daisies for the foreground, and we had Her Majesty with her horses. You need to get the horses ears right, so I had some­body behind me doing jumping jacks, making fun of me. The queen laughed because she found that funny, but it was really to make their ears stand up.

Desert Pageantry: The Royal Cavalry of Oman was all shot on film. That book took me about eight years. I printed it in 2013.

They have 1,200 horses. It took me a long time to get the Galloping Greys picture, which I shot in Seeb, Oman, in 2011. I’m still not happy with it. I had this vision of horses galloping wild, but to create it was difficult. It’s only at the moment of release that you get this explosion of action but it had to be safe for the horses.

I went to the top general, and he said, “No, you’re not allowed to do that. It’s impossible.” So I went to the sergeant in charge of the stables. He said, “Sure, no problem.” We took 20 horses about 4km out, and we did it. The problem was that the light was not right. So the next morning, I go again – and this time the general comes to watch. We take 30 horses 5km out. They release the horses, and I’m there, waiting for them to run this way, but they don’t. They wait, and then they start running the other way – to town. I’ve got the general there with me, and I’m thinking, “Oh my God, these 30 royal, purebred Arab horses are going to run wild into town. They are all going to die.” Fortunately the tide was up so they couldn’t go much further.

That wasn’t my most challenging shoot. In 2006, I was asked to do some official portraits of the queen and Princess Anne and some top generals for the museum of the Household Cavalry. Put me in front of 100 horses gallop­ing towards me – no problem. But this was inside, I had to use lighting, it was staged and each subject had to have a painting behind them. I wondered, “How do I make it interesting?” I had to go into Buckingham Palace, find a room, choose the right painting – for the queen it was her great, great grand­father, King George III – and bring the right lighting. You have to think about these things, you have to plan.

To me, the art of portrait photography is to be able to take a single picture that tells the story of the life of that person. You have to forget about how famous or powerful a person is. You become just two people talking, and you take a picture.

In 2007, I was invited to photograph and create a book on the 61st Cavalry in Rajasthan, India. The Indian cavalry have a charge, and they bring out their swords, and they gallop like they used to do in days of old. I thought it’d be nice to capture that. That was pretty stupid, actually. A horse, as long as you don’t move, will not run right into you, it will go around you. I realised, though, that one of the horses could push another one to the side a little bit, and I’d be a target – a simple miscalculation. I did one try, and that was it.

I don’t want to be a slave to the camera; I want the camera to be a slave to me. I like to have experiences, and then take pictures of those experiences. I try to take the mini­mal amount of equipment possible. Most of my cameras have to tolerate riding on the back of a horse, being thrown on the floor of a jeep, going over rough roads or being in the sand.

Not every picture’s perfect; sometimes I make a mistake, but sometimes the mistake looks perfect, because it’s creative. You have to know your subject, to anticipate what’s going to happen. Each discipline has its perfect moment, the height of the action. But there’s one more element, and that’s luck. Every time I’ve received a “no”, seemingly reached a dead end, somehow I’ve ended up in a better position, in a better location, at a better moment.

Henry Dallal was in town to give a talk titled “The Nobility of Equine Pageantry”, organised by the Royal Geographical Society at the Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central.

   

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2100542/henry-dallal-how-he-got-meet-queen-and-photograph

“The Nobility of Equine Pageantry”

Location: 1/F, The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central
Date: Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

The Royal Geographical Society is delighted to welcome Henry Dallal to speak on “The Nobility of Equine Pageantry”. In this lecture, celebrated Royal and horse photographer Henry Dallal shows some of his most famous photographs and tells of the photographs he has taken of Royalty, world leaders and cavalry regiments worldwide. This includes a multimedia show. The talk ranges from the House of Windsor, to the 1,300 strong Royal Cavalry of Oman to the Horse Warriors of Rajasthan.

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Mr Dallal talks of his 17 years of photographing equine pageantry in Britain and some 20 other countries. This includes when the regiments of 25 countries came to Windsor Great Park for the HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and his travels to photograph horses around the world. He also speaks of horse racing, including Royal Ascot, and of retracing the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia on horseback. He also recounts his appearances to speak at the UNFCCC Climate Change conference in Lima, and also in New York during the UN General Assembly Meeting for Climate Week.

London-based Royal photographer Henry Dallal hails from Iran and moved to the United Kingdom following the fall of the Shah. He is photographer to numerous Royal Families worldwide and one of the world’s most famous equestrian photographers. He is most famous for his work for the Royal Families of Britain, Dubai and Bahrain, plus of the Cavalry Regiments of the United Kingdom, the UAE, Bahrain, Pakistan and India, but has photographed the horses & mounted regiments of more than 20 counties.

Mr Dallal has published a number of coffee-table books including “Desert Pageantry, The Royal Cavalry of Oman”, “Pageantry and Performance, The Household Cavalry in a Celebration of Pictures”, “Horse Warriors, India’s 61st Cavalry”; “Addressing Climate Change; The World Met In Paris”, “The World Came to Windsor: The Diamond Jubilee Pageant” and “The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Windsor Castle”. He has also contributed to numerous other books including “Qatar: Sand, Sea and Sky”, “Endurance, Magic of Monaco”, “Horse Gunners: The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery” and “Horses”.

Mr Dallal journeys to remote areas frequently to portray the splendour of rarely seen landscapes and to capture the beauty of unity between man and horse. His diverse subjects range from the nomadic tribes of the Turkman Steppes to the Household Cavalry in Knightsbridge. His work has been exhibited worldwide and featured in publications internationally. He has been honoured with numerous commissions to photograph Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other senior world figures. He is a keen rider, mountaineer, traveller, adventurer and climate change activist.

Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others.

          

 

 

Royal Cavalry of Oman featured in Photo Book

Muscat: Sixty one-year-old Henry Dallal has published a photo book featuring the horses of the Royal Cavalry of Oman.

The British photographer, who developed an interest in photography from an early age, took eight years to compile the stunning 352-page omnibus, which features more than 20 breeds of horses, some of which are thoroughbred Arabian stallions, while others have been sourced from all over the world. 

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“The book was commissioned by the Royal Cavalry of Oman,” recalled Dallal, while speaking to the Times of Oman.

“I was very honoured and excited to have received the commission, which I enjoyed to the fullest, to experience not only the cavalry and the 1200 horses, but also the beauty of Oman and its fabulous people, culture and heritage and majestic nature.”

“My challenge is to allow the photos to speak volumes with only a minimum of text to guide a reader through,” he added. “Hence, the text is perhaps captions and some historic facts and explanations and chosen calligraphy. Oman has such a beautiful treasure and tradition and that it does not come easy,” explained Dallal.

“Many people work very hard every day for the Royal Cavalry to make it what it is and how it is viewed on the world stage.”

Although he’s been taking photographs since the tender age of nine, Dallal says every photo op he undertakes is a learning experience, and it’s no different with this one.

“As the book was translated into Arabic, the book had to be redesigned in its entirety to start from right to left,” he revealed. “Again, the lesson is an ongoing one. For me, it is to absorb the local culture and I always admire and respect those I am around.

“Taking the pictures is only a very small part of it.”

“I did not start being a professional or a photographer, it all happened as I grew up and took more photographs,” said Dallal.

“However, doing my first book in 1998 was a turning point as I was putting collections together for

a book.”

Dallal’s collaboration with the Royal Cavalry is his latest in a string of high-profile photo excursions. He has previously photographed Queen Elizabeth II of England, as well as other important personalities.

“I remember being on the ground floor of the UNFCCC Climate Change conference in Paris with 155 heads of state present and taking their photos,” he recalled. “To photograph and capture the spirit of it all was very rare.”

Despite being a veteran behind the lens, Dallal stuck to his tried and tested ways, and they seem to have served him well.

“Long ago I told myself that I do not want to be enslaved by my camera equipment, but rather have it be my tools that I use to capture the reality of the moment. Nowadays even the simplest camera is a computer.

“Software now is always changing and you have to be a master of it and that to me is no longer photography.”

“Never stop taking photos,” added Dallal.

“Never be afraid to put your neck out for a great moment, and it is a great bonus to have luck on your side. Luck does play a big role in all of this.”

To see more of Dallal’s work, visit www.henrydallalphotography.com

http://timesofoman.com/article/104670/oman/.heritage/british-photographer-henry-dallal-creates-stunning-book-on-royal-cavalry-of-oman

The Queen’s 90th Birthday: Celebratory book launched at Windsor Castle

“It was published with the support of The European Azerbaijan Society and the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation, who between them had ensured that a contingent of rare Karabakh horses had played a central part in the show.”

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The highlight of the 90th birthday celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a magnificent celebration at Home Park Private, Windsor Castle involving over 900 horses and 1500 participants from all over the world came together in May at Home Park, Private, Windsor Castle.

The spectacular week-long event was watched on television by over seven million around the world.

Now a specially-commissioned book to commemorate the event has been published. The book features photographs by the world-renowned photographer Henry Dallal. It was published with the support of The European Azerbaijan Society and the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation, who between them had ensured that a contingent of rare Karabakh horses had played a central part in the show. The beauty of the horses and the skill and daring of the riders stunned attendees and television viewers alike. Azerbaijani dancers also entertained the crowds and the television audience throughout the week of the show as well as during the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

At the book launch the photographer and publisher of the book Mr Henry Dallal said: “I am delighted with the final product, and I hope Her Majesty the Queen is also pleased. Text and captions have been included from a variety of participants including Dame Helen Mirren, Andreas Bocelli, Kylie Minogue, Shirley Bassey and Azerbaijani dancer Guinel Sheykhova. They bring to life the excitement of the celebrations during those few days in May.”

AZ Vision Article Online

Best of Britain Photography Exhibition in Nanjing, China

AMAZING BRITAIN PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION – NANJING, CHINA

 

The work of award winning British photographer Henry Dallal is being exhibited alongside selected photographs taken by Chinese celebrities and photographers who participated in the Amazing Britain Photography Competition.. Dallal who chaired the competition exhibited his collection of British equine pageantry and a few of his commissioned Royal portraits. Following the opening ceremony on December 4, in Yijia Gallery, His collection will also be exhibited at Nanjing University, and other public spaces in China..

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“To promote China and UK in a cultural exchange and to enable the Chinese public to understand and appreciate British culture better, Henry Dallal’s collection of Britain’s Household Cavalry and ceremonial splendour on horseback on parade for Her Majesty the Queen, offered a visual symphony” said Lili Gao, founder of China Link.

Earlier in the week, Henry presented a stunning multi media show to the public and conducted a master class workshop to photograph Qixia Mountain.

Supported by the Royal Photographic Society, its CEO, Dr Michael Pritchard, presented a history of photography from its beginnings to the modern age at Namjing University which was received with enthusiasm by students. He said “The United Kingdom has a long tradition of photography and to be able to share this with the public and students and to see their own photography was a unique opportunity to learn from each other”.

 

Amazing Britain Photography Exhibition was supported by:

China Link
Visit Britian
The Royal Photgraphic Society
Qixia Government of Nanjung,
China Merchant’s Bank,
China Link
Tencent Image
Modern Express
Nanjing University

http://news.qq.com/a/20161208/024843.htm

Addressing Climate Change: In Focus is a global competition created by photographer Henry Dallal

The contest is supported by the UN and aimed at showing climate change through the lens of the world’s younger generation.

Addressing Climate Change: In Focus is a global competition created by photographer Henry Dallal and endorsed by the Secretariat of the UNFCCC. The competition aims to raise awareness of climate change issues whilst giving young people a voice that will be heard by world leaders.

Does Your Teenage Cousin Take Epic Climate Change Photos?

This is what climate change looks like

Entitled “Climate Change — In Focus,” it shows the best 100 photographs from a global competition and it’s currently on display at the United Nations’ COP22 climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, where it will be seen by attendees who have come from all over the world.
While it was also open to adults, the competition aimed to showcase the images and views of young people.
The project was created by award-winning photographer Henry Dallal, who curated an exhibition from master photographers at COP21 in Paris.

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/16/world/cop22-photo-award/index.html

Addressing Climate Change: In Focus International Youth Photography Competition

“Young people are critical in this global effort to address climate change. Having photographed the UN Climate Change conferences for many years, I became inspired to create a global competition involving the younger generation, our future climate custodians, at a grassroots level,” said Henry Dallal, acclaimed photographer and founder of the Addressing Climate Change Project.

http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2016/03/addressing-climate-change-focus-international-youth-photography-competition/