Okay, can we take a mid-week pause to talk about something that’s been driving me absolutely batty lately?
Yup, I want to rant. Specifically about when people deliberately tilt advertising photos to make a horse look more uphill (or it some cases, to just make it look balanced and level in general because it’s actually downhill or croup high).
To be fair, this particular thing has always driven me crazy, but I dunno if people have been doing it more and more often, or if I’m just noticing it more. Or maybe I’m just looking at more horse ads this year because what else does one do in 2020 with this extra time online? I’ve been seeing it EVERYWHERE. Sale ads on facebook, auction listings for foals, stallion ads, you name it. This isn’t a new phenomenon by any means, I used to make a game out of going through the COTH stallion editions (back when those were a thing that was really coveted every year) and tilting the magazine to level some of the stallions, but my god. It’s everywhere.
I didn’t want to throw any rando internet people under the bus so I tilted some of my own photos as examples of what I mean.
Gah. WHY. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS?
Sometimes it’s purely accidental, and I get that. Unless you’re using a tripod or are very careful/deliberate, humans tend to not take perfectly level photos. And some riding spaces are not perfectly level. But those instances tend to just be slightly unlevel, not massively so, and also… it’s just not that hard to level them. Especially when there’s a clear guide in the background like an arena fence, or if the horse is standing on a flat surface like a road. For the love of all that is holy, level the feet.
I spend a lot of time leveling Foal Friday photos, and my own photos, probably because I’m hyper-sensitive to this. When I actually sat here and thought about it, I came up with two reasons why:
- It seems disingenuous. A little bit of wonkiness here and there in the photos… ok sure. I can write that off as accidental. But if I’m seeing photo after photo at all kinds of crazy angles where the only thing they have in common is making the horse look uphill, it makes me wonder what else that seller/owner isn’t being 100% honest about.
- It makes me think that they think I’m stupid. Like… I have eyeballs. I can clearly see that the photo isn’t level. I guess they’re hoping that I’m just gonna look at the horse’s topline and not notice that the front and back feet aren’t anywhere near the same plane? It’s brazen and obvious, assuming or hoping that the person looking at the photo won’t notice.
At least that’s why I’m so deliberate with those Foal Friday photos. No those aren’t ads by any means, and yes all of this years foals are already spoken for anyway, but I’m aware that the farm is still a business and I don’t ever want anyone thinking that the mares or foals are being misrepresented online in any way, even in a very casual setting.
I think what really set me off lately was a couple of online foal auctions where almost every single photo had been tilted to varying degrees. I get it, foals can be butt-high a lot, but a) still not a good excuse to try to cover it up b) when your arena surface or background fence is tilted at damn near 40 degrees, it just looks insane. I’m not even exaggerating, there was one online sporthorse foal auction in Europe in particular where only 3 out of 24 photos had not been tilted at least 20 degrees. It was enough to give you vertigo. And then hot on the heels of that I saw several successive posts on a stallion group with a major tilt to them too. It’s become a second hobby of mine to screenshot the photo and level it to see what it is they’re trying to hide (just like when I see conformation photos of stallions where there’s always grass covering his feet – makes me go hmmm…).
I especially don’t understand it when we live in the age of online videos. Like why the heck did you bother tilting all your photos when I can go play a video that shows the real story? GAH. My favorite is when I see a screenshot that has been majorly tilted, and then see the exact spot on the video where the screenshot came from and it’s perfectly level. Makes me chuckle. Just level your damn advertising photos people! Or at least don’t deliberately tilt them at crazy angles. That’s all I ask.
Does anyone else notice this stuff? Does it drive you nuts too, or is it just me?