An Explication Of The Art Of Contemporary Equine Portraiture :
Ripley creates artworks using the highest resolution medium-format cameras currently available in combination with extensive work in post-production. This process gives him the foundation upon which to produce work of extremely fine detail, clarity and scale, creating anatomically precise portraits of horses which would be impossible to achieve by any other means.
Working at magnifications of over one-thousand percent, every element of the picture is crafted to the width of a single pixel, something unachievable with the human eye or by using traditional painting or drawing techniques. The resulting level of detail is remarkable.
When composing a portrait, Ripley photographs each element separately in order to satisfy a number of technical and artistic objectives. The thoroughbred is photographed at the training yard or stud farm, allowing for a relaxed and stress free experience with familiar handlers and surroundings. No transportation of the horse is required and no artificial lighting is used.
The environment can be formed from many different elements; skies, landscapes, cityscapes, abstract surfaces and architectural features, these may derive from anywhere in the world. Constructing the picture is more complex than it may at first appear; scenes are often composed from multiple photographs, and may comprise of panoramas many pictures wide, and many layers deep, with shifts of focus throughout the image. This time-intensive process means that every element of the picture is rendered sharp and in-focus by eliminating 99% of the optical depth-of-field artefacts normally associated with traditional photography.
Ripley expertly assembles every piece of the image with meticulous attention to detail using retouching and drawing techniques developed over twenty years. This process can take many weeks or months to complete.