Wilson, who moved to Colorado from the U.K. seven years ago, has been a landscape photographer for 25 year; six years ago, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. "That obviously knocked me sideways, but also really threatened my photography," he says. "And it occurred to me that there's just so much wildlife in all of our state parks; I started driving through them and photographing wildlife from the shade of my car. That got me into wildlife photography."
He became fascinated with wild horses when he visited a sanctuary east of Denver five years ago. "I was like, 'Where are these horses coming from?'" he remembers. "They explained this amazing place in northwest Colorado called Sand Wash Basin, which is 160,000 acres — it's basically the size of New York — and there are wild horses living and running free. So I went up in April 2018, and I've been hooked ever since."
Wilson remembers that it was a particularly hot, dry summer day when he shot "Anger Management." The stallion had been cooling off in a pool of mud, and when he emerged, he began "pounding the ground, letting other stallions know that he's ready to fight for his place at the water pool," he recalls.
Wilson's approach as a wildlife photographer is to capture moments of action, and he certainly succeeded with this enigmatic shot. He also found the resulting image almost metaphoric.
"The title's symbolic of the challenges these horses face," he explains. "T
He also decided to make the image black and white to accentuate "the drama, the tension, the contrast, the energy," he says. "So to me, it was to try and elevate it to a photo that anyone could appreciate, whether they had experience with wild horses or not."
Wilson decided to enter "Anger Management" in the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards on a whim; on March 15, the Sony World Photography Awards announced that his photo had been selected from 170,000 entries as one of the winners in ten categories. Like the other nine, it will now move into the judging for Photography of the Year, which will be announced April 12 in London.
"The wild horse photos have become a very prominent part of my portfolio," Wilson says, "so I thought I would give it a go and just got very lucky. First they said [I was] on the short list, and I was already blown away by that. And to say I've actually won the Nature & Wildlife category after that journey. ... I got my cancer remission and I got this news — it's just incredible."
Gallery 6 is located at 2434 East Sixth Avenue. To learn more about Wilson's work, visit WilsonAxpe.com.