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“I wish to bring my experience among the wild horses of Sable Island to people around the world, to show them true wilderness in its primal state, unaware and unafraid of man. I wish to recreate for others, as nearly as possible, my extraordinary experience—what it was like for me to step onto their untouched land, what it was like for them to see me, and what they would remember from the encounter long afterward.”
—Roberto Dutesco, Photographer

A story worth telling – over and over again. . . .
A fragile sliver of sand more than one hundred miles off the coast of Nova Scotia is sending the world a message. This tiny, windswept island sits at the center of what is known as “the Graveyard of the Atlantic,” and, since the seventeenth century, its shoals have been the site of more than 475 shipwrecks. This slender island—Sable Island—42 km in length and just 1.5 km wide, is home to more than four hundred wild horses. Abandoned there by sailors long ago or cast ashore from wrecks on the many sandbars that surround the island, this feral herd has managed to thrive in an austere, unforgiving environment that offers not a single sheltering tree and just sea grass and rainwater ponds for sustenance.

Never permanently settled, Sable Island has, however, seen temporary occupation by shipwrecked sailors, transported convicts, pirates and wreckers. The first recorded shipwreck was of one of Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s ships in 1583. In 1598 the Marquis de La Roche landed forty convict settlers on the island. Only twelve survived, to be rescued in 1603. Manned lighthouses were established in 1873 but have been automated since the 1960s.

Sable Island has been evolving as a barrier island during the past several thousand years of postglacial time as the sea has slowly risen over the Continental Shelf. Southerly storm waves have driven sands from the seabed onto the south shore. Currents related to the Gulf Stream cause a northeast drift of beach material along this shore, slowly extending the island in that direction. Along the northern shore, the Belle Isle current shifts sand more slowly southwestward.

The dune ridges were built by winds behind the northern and southern beaches, but their continuity is broken by linear blowouts formed by intense northwesterly winter storms. A comparison of charts of the island made over the last two hundred years shows that the northern and southern ridges were broken in the 1760s, and that after closure in the early nineteenth century, the central depression was occupied by a lake that has progressively shrunk in size as a result of drifting sand and plant colonization. Lake Wallace, 5.5 km long, is the present shallow remnant of this lake in the western part of the island. Except for in areas of extensive blowout, Marram grass, or low shrub cover, stabilizes the dunes.

Natural fauna include terrestrial insects, freshwater aquatic life in Lake Wallace, birds and seals. Birds are mainly common sea and shore birds such as gulls and sandpipers, but the Ipswich sparrow is unique to the island. Grey and Harbour seals are present in the thousands, the Grey being a permanent resident, the Harbour seal a summer visitor. Numerous SABLE ISLAND HORSES still roam the island.


The Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery

64 Grand St. New York, NY 10013
The Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery is one of the longest running photography exhibitions in New York City ...

Dayspring Art Gallery - Korea

The Wild Horses of Sable Island installation: photograph installation and exhibition at the Dayspring Art Gallery - Korea.

Museum at Prairiefire, American Museum & Natural History Exhibition

The Wild Horses of Sable Island installation: photograph installation and exhibition for the Museum at Prairiefire, American Museum & Natural History Exhibition, Overland Park, Kansas.

The Wild Horses of Sable Island Book - teNeues Publication

The long-awaited worldwide edition of The Wild Horses of Sable Island, presenting 20 years of iconic photography, is exclusively available through the gallery. Individually signed and uniquely inscribed by Roberto Dutesco.

Limited Edition Book

Available for purchase. After sixteen years documenting the Wild Horses of Sable Island, Dutesco Art Publishing is proud to present this stunning collection of extraordinary photographs, some never before seen in print. ...

Sable Island

A fragile sliver of sand more than one hundred miles off the coast of Nova Scotia is sending the world a message. This tiny, windswept island sits at the center of what is known as “the Graveyard of the Atlantic,” ....

Roberto Dutesco

Roberto Dutesco has been revealing the beauty of nature and the human spirit through his photography for more than three decades. He first learned of Sable Island and its wild horses in 1994 and made his first trip to the island ...

Unique, Annotated Photographs

Any of Dutesco's photographs can either be simply signed or annotated by the artist creating a unique piece. Common themes in Dutesco's annotations include: Sable Island journal entries, astrology, nautical inspired drawings, maps and geographical information.

Year of the Horse - Limited Edition

Coinciding with 20 years of photographic documentation on Sable Island, we bring you eight of Roberto's favorite images in a limited series of pigment prints on Baryta paper. Individually signed, dated and numbered uniquely, marked with 8 stamps plus one, indicating the Chinese character for Ma-Horse.

Jiva Hill Exhibition in Le Hangar

Crozet, France 11/13/12 - 11/13/15

Equestrio Magazine

Interview in Equestrio Magazine - Spring 2014

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Halifax, Nova Scotia 6/6/14 - 10/13/14
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All Dutesco’s photography comes from the old ways of camera, negative, development and printing techniques. New technologies, such as chromogenic printing, are incorporated in his work, however the original is always a negative that has been scanned to accommodate special printing techniques, such as metallic prints, platinum prints or oversize prints not available in silver gelatin printing.