RJ Stein :: www.RJSteinPhotography.com
RJ Stein is an artist capturing the world through the lens of a camera with the intention to deliver a moment or a message that needs to be spread. Bringing awareness to a special moment has always been important to her, but since receiving my very first camera less than a year ago, she has discovered that photography works as a voice to capture a message that needs to be told. She loves creating beautiful outdoor imagery, whether it is in the city or country. However, her real passion is equine photography – specifically wild horse photography. RJ feels that these animals are true examples of free spirits, and she am most honored when I can tell and share their story.
Her photograph titled, “Protect the Kingdom,” has special meaning to her because it demonstrates the lengths that these Onaqui Mountain wild horses will go to defend their herd and land from any threat. Wild Horses have a sense of family that she didn’t anticipate when she went to Utah to photograph them. She witnessed tender moments between stallions and foals, teaching moments between young and old stallions, mares that looked after each other’s babies, and demonstrations of leadership between Band stallions and challenging Bachelor stallions from other bands. To RJ, what is most important about this photograph is that these two stallions do not know that their land and lives are currently gravely at risk due to decisions out of their control.
The Onaqui Herd mustangs in Utah are beloved by citizens throughout the world. The Bureau of Land Management’s plan was announced recently to round up and remove 465 Onaqui horses (91% of the herd!) early in 2019, which will rob these iconic symbols of the American West of their freedom and tear apart the wild horse families that people all over the world have come to know and love. This is not the first time this herd was in jeopardy. Late last fall, the herd was scheduled for round up; however, due to outcry of the public, their death sentences was temporarily stayed. Again, this roundup is generating massive public opposition, which the BLM could avoid by cancelling the roundup in favor of a humane and sustainable long-term, wild horse management plan through PZP birth control.
For those who do not know, these horses (who have lived wild and free their entire lives) are rounded up by helicopter, contained in small pens, and separated from their herds. That process is a terrorizing experience for the horses. At times, they are offered up for adoption, but more commonly are sold for overseas meat consumption or as wild game live food.
If you wish to oppose this roundup, please write a letter or email to Utah’s Governors, Senators, and Representatives at www.gocentral.utah.gov as well as call the BLM office at 801-539-4001.
“I am so honored to have been chosen for the gallery–especially to have one of my favorite images selected! I love the fresh concept of the open air gallery and think it is a great reflection of the wonderful community of Pittsburgh and the support for the arts community. This opportunity inspires me to take more pictures, learn more techniques, create more moments, and bring to light stories that need told.”
RJ has been so inspired by many great photographers, but I would like to especially thank the following individuals:
1) MH–for taking that first photography class with her
2) Lukas Kosslow (@kosslowphotography)–for helping a stranger take the first couple shots of Pittsburgh that actually came out, then continuing to be a great source of feedback and friendship. It inspired me to keep trying and to keep taking pictures.
3) Tyler Smith (@FifthSmith_Photography)–for his overwhelming sense of enthusiasm, creativity, and positivity. He always makes shooting meet-ups fun, and his creativeness inspires her.
4) Emmanuel Panagiotakis-(@emmanuelfineartgallery)-for being the best mentor and educator. When a World Class Photographer offers you help, you take it!
5) Chris Horner (@hornerfoto1)–for answering every little question that I ever had. She is the best sports photographer RJ has ever seen and she inspires her to keep catching the action.
6) Lynne Pomeranz, Bobbie Grover, Liz Uribe–Without attending Lynne Pomeranz’s Wild Horse Photography workshop, RJ would have never been introduced to the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horses. She thanks them for educating, inspiring and opening up her eyes to how her voice can help change lives.She would have never met these beautiful horses and fallen in love with them without this workshop, and meeting these heart stopping photographers was a bonus.
And the most important for last….
7) DT– Her best friend, partner, and biggest fan, and the person who bought RJ her first camera all the while encouraging her to keep shooting and learning.