Salt Lake City, Utah


When you live on the California coast, things like snow brushes, chains, and winter coats are easy to forget. Which is why when we were photographing Natalie and her horses with numb fingers we were kicking ourselves too. How could we forget gloves? Because we’re from San Francisco was our only lame excuse.

Utah is not the kind of place where you might find a vegan. Snow? Yes. Mormons? Yes. Animal rights activists? Not very likely, unless you visit the heart of Utah, Salt Lake City. Throughout the past few decades, Salt Lake has witnessed an incredible shift in the political and social life of the city. It’s like a blue light amidst an otherwise entirely red state. Natalie was a rodeo queen growing up and she fit in more naturally with the conservative crowd. But over time, she became more liberal. How she viewed those living creatures she once rode for sport and ate and owned also changed. She began to see no difference between say, an otter and an alligator. To her, they are the same thing, a living and breathing animal. In a way, according to Natalie, all living things are bonded by the very fact that they are living. What more do you need as a basis for connection and love?

As we spent time with Natalie and her horses you could tell she had a sincere love for them. She talked about some pigs and cows she had met as if they were newly made friends she met at a bar the night before. Just in the way she talked about them it was obvious she cared a lot. Even a cynic would be convinced these animals needed a place of refuge. And standing under a frigid Utah sky I too was inspired by Natalie.

Most of the photos were taken at Sage Mountain.

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