Julie Sleaford is a photographic artist who works in analogue and hand prints her own work. It is in the darkroom that she adds an emotional response to her memory of the animals and landscape she encounters.

Sleaford began her photographic career as a fashion photographer and shot fashion editorial and portraits for an array of prestigious publications including i_D and The Face and produced ad campaigns for Harvey Nichols and Sony amongst others.

Leaving the editorial and advertising world behind she returned to her first love, horses  and worked in various roles within the equestrian industry. Gradually she started to question the way we treat them and this led down new pathways of discovery.

"One day a horse spoke to me."

As a visual artist she is interested in the slippages in perception and embracing the possibility of other spaces to disturb our belief systems.


THE PROBLEM HORSE and other stories is a long-form project that explores our relationship to horses and nature. Through this work I search for connection and question the desires and anxieties that drive this relationship . 

The slim legs that send them flying and dancing above the ground snap like brittle twigs, their velvet skin tears easily and their guts twist at the slightest upset. 

It is also a meditation on the vulnerability of the horse's position as Other. Throughout history we have been raised up upon their backs but they have paid a heavy price for this contract. As a large, expensive animal they often exist as a unit of production even for those who utter words of love. We invest in them and to satisfy our desires theirs is a precarious existence.

The human relationship with animals is one of conflict as it is with nature in general. In presumed superiority we take control, we impose order.  We praise an animal with spirit and then fearing it, break it. We presume our intelligence is greater than theirs according to our own classifications. We protect them  and ourselves from the very nature they are part of and buff them to a gloss so that they reflect back our humanity.

It is in the spaces in-between, by embracing the unknown that we can begin to hear them and discover the better part of ourselves.

Using Format