BRISTOL MAC DONALD
A native of Los Angeles, with a background in photojournalism, Bristol has dedicated the last ten years of her life to documenting the spirit of the American Wild Horse. Her unique and captivating imagery has coveted multiple awards, international attention and highly successful gallery exhibits.
"I am driven by passion and by a devotion to tell the story of the plight of the American Wild Horse. I have made it a priority in my life and my art to educate and enlighten the public and inspire change."
Once an American legend, a living symbol of freedom, the American Wild Horse is now in jeopardy of becoming extinct in a land it helped revolutionize. As a nation we have done little to extend either stewardship or respect for these noble animals. Instead, we have herded them, broken them, abused and slaughtered them. And now we are at risk of losing them forever.
Bristol has traveled across the western United States, observing and photographing wild horse bands in their natural habitat, but it is Return to Freedom - Wild Horse Preservation and Sanctuary that captured her heart and inspired Bristol's passion for this cause.
Return to Freedom is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by Neda De Mayo. Located in Lompoc CA, it is safe haven to approximately 300 wild horses. The sanctuary is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America's Wild Horses through sanctuary, education and conservation.
Committed to preserving the many rare and diverse bloodlines that define the American Wild Horse of today, Return to Freedom preserves these herds, maintained in separate areas, according to their geographic origins. Some of the herds represent horses with DNA similar to the primitive Iberian horses (the Sorrias), some are direct and undiluted descendants of Padre Kino’s original Spanish Mission strain which arrived in the 1600s, as well as the Choctaw ponies who arrived with Hernando DeSoto in the 1500s and other Spanish Barb horses who, as they escaped or were turned loose, were the foundation of what we later called the "Mustang.’
Bristol has spent endless hours with each herd at Return to Freedom, patiently observing the intricate dynamics of the wild bands, gaining their trust and eventually being accepted into the horse's inner circle. Bristol's images reflect this close bond and earned acceptance. She is able to capture the most intimate and cherished moments within a wild horse family.
"These families are not unlike our own. Wild horses form strong connections and allegiances to one another. Mares care for their children, stallions protect their families, foals kick up their heels and play, as yearlings learn from and imitate their elders. It's hard to accept that our country's wild horses, living on public land, land legally and rightfully meant for them, are systematically being ripped from their home and that families are being torn apart, never to see one another again. The reality of this breaks my heart. This is why I do what I do. It is my greatest desire that my art touch the human spirit and encourage Americans to speak out on behalf of the wild horses across the nation. We need to be their voice."
Bristol has just completed writing her third screenplay. A story that focuses on the natural and inalienable right to freedom and the plight of America's wild horses. This has been a labor of love and six years in creation.
A portion of all Bristol's photographic sales will be gifted to Return to Freedom.