Renato Sorvilo

A new look upon horse photography Born in São Paulo city but raised in the town of Socorro, where the Sorvilo family runs a stud farm, Renato has from childhood had contact with purebred Arabian horses. For him, the stables have always been, and continue to be, an extension from home. During childhood and teenage years, Renato learned to see horse from every angle, and also was active in every job related to the breeding and rearing of horses. Early on, he knew that his career would have to include these animals in some way. During the same period, he began photographing the foals’ growth, documenting the important changes which take place in a young horse along only a few months. With help from his father, he would pick the best shots for each horse’s book. From there, it was a short step to return to São Paulo and attend SENAC’s course for professional photography, a four-year BA degree. It was during those years that Renato also took his first course with Paula da Silva, internationally one of the best known and most respected names in equestrian photography. Paula not only encouraged the fledgling photographer, but also became his permanent reference, and both have remained in contact since then. Renato names Chico Audi, Gigi Grasso and Stuart Vest as other professionals who inspired and oriented him along his career.


After graduation, Renato returned to Socorro, and from this base now travels to portray studs farms all over Brazil. Passion with technique: challenges of a professional photographer Nowadays, the pervasive presence of amateur digital photography is a constant challenge to quality and creativity of each professional photographer’s work. Whoever desires to make photography his or her living must create differentials able to identify his work as unique inside the chosen niche. Renato speaks about a young photographer’s quest for identity, and of the knowledge needed by an equestrian photographer: “The fact is that digital photography is here to stay, and there is a lot of make-believe in this universe. However, a quality photo must convey the horse’s reality, and this is believable only if the photographer really is a horse person, cognizant of the equestrian world and its many amazing details. There are only few pros in the horse photography market who have this kind of vision. A photo is always a valuable record, not only financially speaking, but also for sentimental reasons. “I believe that there are three kinds of important horses. There are those who are champions in their field, and who besides that also go on producing descendants of top quality.


These are capable of influencing their breed anywhere in the world. Then there are those famous for their own winnings, but who are unable to pass on, consistently, those qualities to their offspring. And the opposite also exists – horses which never won much, but who go on to become producers of an outstanding next generation, both in terms of pedigree and of conformation. And in every case, a good photograph may become that individual’s portrait for posterity. A professional photographer must seek the correct angle, prioritize qualities, depict reality as closely as possible, respecting standards and characteristics of each breed. The photo must identify the horse’s minute details. The precise instant for “clicking” depends on your understanding of horses as a whole, but also on the knowledge of that breed, and of that unique individual in front of you. Even with all possibilities offered by digital photography, this mixture of qualification, technique and sentiment is human by definition, and without it, no top equiment will produce the desired results. A good horse photographer’s clinical eye results from his living and breathing horses. Arabian horses: age-old prominency If the relationship between mankind and horses is passional by definition, the case of those in love with the purebred Arabian horse is a chapter by itself.


The breed’s selection goes back a thousand years, resulting in beauty and perfect proportions, and a unique kind of equine intelligence, which combines a lively temper with kindness. Historical legends on the breed abound: of how pharaos, kings and emperors sought the best Arabians from all over the world. Fabulous prices, prince’s ransoms, and even whole cities have been exchanged for splendid horses – or these were even disputed at the cost of human blood. It is an undisputed fact that many of the Arabian’s modern characteristics stem from the horses’ adaptation to the desert. Several aspects of its unique conformation have been privileged, selected and developed with great wisdom by the bedouines, through principles passed from generation to generation over a thousand years or more. It is agreed upon by equestrian specialists and researchers that the Purebred Arabian is the most perfect horse of all, the true prototype of all saddle horses. In Renato’s opinion, the passion for Arabian horses is essential to enable a photographer to depict the breed in a reliable manner, so that even a neophyte may understand, in one simple look, everything that is extraordinary and breathtaking in an Arabian purebred. However, passion without technique is dilletantism only, and Renato defines the meaning of “author photography” for the professional equine portaitist: “With each newly undertaken work, I feel the need to improve the final result.


The demand for having the horse’s qualities reproduced in the closest possible way is a constant challenge. The finishing makes me require much exaction from myself, in the search for the best angle, lightening, main focus – until arriving at the picture showing that horse at its best possible moment. It is a great satisfaction to look at the finished photograph, in the certainty of having risen to the occasion. All this demans constant evolution from the professional, in terms of knowledge as well as equipments and technical resources.” Besides photography, Renato offers marketing consulting to his clients, aiming the stud farm’s or training center’s presentation upon the great stage of international equibusiness. Services offered may include horse portraits, artistic work, commercial productions (advertisments or catalogues), among others.