Last year, Lithuanian photographer Andrius Burba achieved world wide fame for his incredible photos of cats shot from underneath a piece of glass.
The series—titled “Under-cats”—was published in a book by the same name. The success of that first project spurred the photographer on to try something far more challenging and, as yet, unattempted: horses.
The project would take two months of planning to pull off.
First, Burba needed to find a piece of glass sturdy enough to support a 1,000-pound animal. Then, he would have to figure out a way to get under that piece of glass to take the photos and, lastly, to get the horses on said glass.
“The glass was 30mm thick,” said Burba. “It was three pieces of glass glued together in order to make a piece that thick.” The three separate pieces provided an extra measure of safety—if one did break, the other two would keep the glass, and the horse, from falling on the photographer.
His next challenge was to find a place that was both horse friendly and would allow him to dig a deep pit to position his camera under a horse, standing on glass. To make the shoot safer, a wooden box was created for Burba to work in and equipped with electricity for lighting, his computer and his camera.
In addition, he had special rubber shoes created by a shoemaker for the horses to wear while being photographed, so the glass wouldn’t get scratched.
Rain on the day of the shoot presented additional challenges. A tarp was used to cover the glass. It kept the set dry, but created a temperature imbalance—it was warmer inside the wooden box than out—causing condensation on the glass. After some hastily improvised ventilation, they solved the problem and were ready to shoot.
It took just one helper to get photos of cats on glass. In order to accomplish Under-horse, Burba needed a crew of 40.
Treats were used to get the horses onto the glass and into the positions he wanted to photograph. The horses seemed surprisingly calm about the whole process.
“Cats and dogs are fun, small, warm animals,” said Burba. “Horses are so big, so it was more difficult to get an interesting pose with them.”
The second day of shooting presented still more difficulties—snow and ice on the glass! The glass had to be cleaned constantly, so that there wouldn’t be dirt in the picture. They also had to be careful about horses pawing, as they may have broken the glass.
Even though it wasn’t easy, it was fun, said Burba, adding “The results are the best part.”
For behind-the-scenes footage, watch Burba’s backstage video:
Burba’s incredible images are available to buy as prints, t-shirts and more at getunderlook.com. To view his full portfolio, visit underlook.org and to keep up with his future projects, which he says will include exotic animals, follow him on Facebook.
Special thanks to Andrius Burba for sharing his amazing photos with us!
About the Author
Kristina N. Lotz is a professional writer and animal lover. She has ridden and owned horses her entire life. When she is not writing, she is riding or driving her Norwegian Fjord mare, Belle, or working on a craft project. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/afairytailhouse.