By Joshua Quong, Little Q Ranch
A couple of month ago I was fortunate enough to meet a photographer who came out on his first quail hunt to snap a few photos.
The shutter of the big lens clacked speedily and I asked the fella, “are you getting any good pictures?”
“Everything is beautiful,” he said.
I was taken aback by his reply. Here was a fella… nay… an artist who spends his time capturing the beauty of the natural world and is now applying this term, “beautiful”, to a handful of hunters and dogs in a field looking for birds to shoot.
His observation has run through the thickets of my thoughts like a brace of bird dogs and have now locked up on point: dog folk (like photographers and painters and musicians) are artists and like traditional artists, our medium can frustrate and dishearten in our search for beauty.
The innumerable hours invested in getting a dog to “whoa” or “hold” or “trail” can be maddening. To perfect what is perfectly coded in a dog seems to be a fool’s discipline. Yet through all the cussin’ and fussin’ and beggin’ and pleadin’ the code is unlocked and our fool’s errand has become what we knew it could… beautiful.
Take for instance those who run hounds. The rabbit and coon hunter can discern and distinguish each musical note of a race or bay. And for bird dog folk it’s the visually aesthetic. Points and retrieves are where line, shape, and color meet.
The end products are works of art painted and composed on the canvas of Creation.
Photos by Josh Quong, Dwayne Bratcher and Will Hereford