La vache normande: part of the landscape

At the vernissage of my exhibition with sculptor Sue Riley, L’Esprit Insolite, I was momentarily left speechless by an unexpected request.

One of the guests asked me, “Do you have any artistic pictures of vaches normandes?

The vache normande is a breed of cattle which, this being Normandy, is naturally very popular around these parts. It’s a placid animal that gives creamy, high-fat milk that is perfect for cheese-making.

However, the question was thrown at me at an exhibition of my landscape photography. I’m not known as a cow photographer. So you can understand my confusion.

I stumbled out a reply – something along the lines of “I don’t think so, but I’ll have a look”. The gentleman in question, a retired farmer and member of an association that promotes the breed, remained graceful and charming despite my obvious consternation. And he got me thinking.

Much of my landscape photography is about the way that mankind shapes and manages the environment. And animals are an important part of this.

The orchard in the picture above is a common sight. All the trees are trimmed up to a certain height. That’s because the same field is used to graze the cattle, and that’s as high as the cows’ mouths will reach.

The image below, for me, sums up a Normandy summer day. The cows are an integral part of the landscape.

So I now understand how reasonable the question was. And I’ll be keeping an eye out for image opportunities featuring vaches normandes.



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