Of Real Life Unicorns: Claudia Tarlow

We chatted with photographer Claudia Tarlow in anticipation of our upcoming charity show devoted to horses, aptly titled Of Real Life Unicorns. Claudia is one of two artists being featured (the other is Austin Eckardt) and a portion of sales of her work will be donated to Defensa Rincon, an organization that’s close to home for this animal lover and her family. Read on to learn why and get a glimpse of her intimate images of these majestic animals. 

How did you first discover equine therapy and what brought you to Defensa Rincon specifically? 

Our first visit to Rincon, PR was when my son Logan was 3. Logan had noticed a horse across the street from where we were staying and immediately fell in love with him. His name was Pappi (Logan called him Paco). I noticed how calm and healing it was for Logan who has a Sensory Processing Disorder and was dealing with major anxiety issues at that time. Logan’s other Mother (Wendy) has been sick with Lymphoma since he was born and has been in and out of the hospital since he was a baby which has added to his stress and anxiety.

What impact has it had on your/your family’s life? 

It has been a great source of healing and passion for all of us. Logan has many horse and animal friends at this point. It is an exceptional gift that he has. He plays with large animals the way that we would play with a dog. He doesn’t particularly care to ride horses, he just loves to pet them, nuzzle with them and to run around with them.

Your work seems to really capture the horses’ personalities – do you feel you have a special relationship with them? 

Logan really is my connection with the horses. I love all animals and have always been involved with rescue organizations, but I think the way I capture the horses comes from my joy at seeing them through Logan’s eyes.

Do you have a favorite piece from the show? If so, what’s the story behind it? 

Chewy is the youngest of the horses that were rescued during Hurricane Maria. He is my son’s age. Logan and Chewy hit it off like people who just click and take an immediate mutual liking to each other. Chewy loved to play with Logan and was cuddly. The other two horses that are in my show are Diegito and Lady Shoshanna. Shoshanna is more like a mother and Diegito is a bully to the other horses and jealous. By the end of our most recent trip they had all bonded with Logan and the bullying had stopped.

We’re thrilled to display your work and help you raise much needed funds to aid Defensa Rincon. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, why is it important to you personally to support this organization?

The first time that Logan had made a connection with Pappi we didn’t know who the organization was, we went back the following year and then discovered that Paco was Pappi and there were many more horses. They all live on temporarily donated land and some are retired and now living out on sanctuary lands through the help of donations. A friend of ours told us to contact Defensa Animal de Rincon after we inquired about how we could help. We started to help to a certain extent back then but much more so after Hurricane Maria. I don’t think that most people have any idea what is really happening to the animals in Puerto Rico. Huge amounts of every kind of animal have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves which essentially has left them to starve. It’s incredibly heartbreaking when you see this up close and already have a connection with the animals. Some of the animals literally come running up to cars looking for food. Logan held his first public speaking event last year at his school (he was 8) to help raise money for the organization through the sale of my photos so this show is just a continuation of this journey.

Looking back – do you remember the first artwork you ever created? How/when did you know you were meant to be an artist?

I was around 13 back in Colombia. I created a drawing through a competition that was hosted by Botero, a Colombian artist that was helping children.

What can people do to help who aren’t able to attend the show/purchase your work there? 

They can go to my website and order some of the photos directly through the site or they can contact me directly at 631-599-3481 to purchase more specific requests.

Don’t miss the Opening Reception of ‘Of Real Life Unicorns’ featuring Claudia Tarlow and Austin Eckardt benefitting Defensa Rincon and United Reins respectively, on Saturday, September 29th at 6:00 pm. As always, peep our calendar for event details and to RSVP.