The magazine of the photo-essay
December 2016 issue
by Homer Sykes
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”
Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
When the hunting ban was proposed in Britain and looked like it might go through
parliament and become law, I realised that it was not just fox hunting that would
“Hunting with Hounds is a vision of 21st century hunting in all its rich diversity. It is
the document of one man who has spent the past year photographing hunting
with hounds with sensitivity and humour - and occasional warm-hearted mischief.
Homer Sykes has turned his camera on representative hunts - fox, deer, hare,
mink, rabbit and rat - all quarry that are hunted with hounds. His unusual eye has
caught the thrill of the chase, the grandeur of the society hunt, the pride of the rat
catcher, the sartorial sense of the cognoscenti, and the everyday essence of
hunting as a way of rural life.”
The photographs were taken in 2002 and 2003. Because of the delicate nature of
the subject and the natural superstition, given the circumstances. I decided to shoot for the first time on a Rollieflex film
camera, this I hoped would produce a different style of image and allow me close personal close contact, with the
subjects, there would be no barrier between them and me, as there is sometimes when one brings a 35mm camera up
to ones eye.
The Blencathra Foxhounds. Barry Todhunter calls in missing hounds at the end of
the day's hunt. Near Braithwaite, Cumbria.
The Blencathra Foxhounds. Hounds develop a strong bond with the families they go
out to walk with each summer. The meet at the Old Crown. Hesket Newmarket,
The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt. Silk top hats are still worn by some hunt subscribers,
who traditionally wear blue coats with buff facings, and are known as the Blue and
Buff. This fashion can be traced back to the family's Plantaganet forebear John of
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose colours were azure and gold. The Boxing Day Meet
at Worcester Lodge near Didmarton, Gloucestershire.
The Dummer Beagles. Steven Duckmanton, huntsman, and the only full time member
of staff. The Dummer traditionally hunt a bitch-only pack, as they are considered
faster and more biddable. Manor Farm, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire.
The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt. The meet at Easton Grey House. Easton Grey, Wilts. It
was at Easton Grey that the former Prince of Wales planted an oak tree to
commemorate the time he spent there enjoying the 1922-23 hunting season. The
present Prince, the Princes, and their family friends still hunt with the Beaufort.
Hare Coursing. Slipper, Wayne Drew, with two greyhounds wearing identifying red
and white collars. He is looking over the hedge towards a group of beaters who are
driving hares, one at a time, towards the coursing field. The Cotswold Coursing Club
Meet, near Kilkenny, Gloucestershire.
Hare Coursing. A liquid lunch is enjoyed in the members enclosure at the Waterloo
Cup. The Waterloo Cup is considered the blue riband, or Ascot, of the hare coursing
season. Near Altcar, Lancashire.
The Valley Minkhounds. Whipper-in, Michael Riching, carries a hound back to the
wagon in the traditional manner. Near Aldermaston, Berkshire.
The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt. A mounted follower takes a jump in pouring rain. Near
The Dummer Beagles. Steven Duckmanton with hunting horn and whip. It's unusual,
but up to two and a half brace of hares have been culled in a day. Manor Farm, Upper
The Blencathra Foxhounds. The Blencathra foxhounds are considered by many to be
one of the fastest packs in the country. They hunt a mixed pack of dogs and bitches.
The Quantock Staghounds. A mounted stags head looks down on the revellers who
have spilled out of the hunt ball marquee and into Bagborough House. Somerset.
Quantock Stag Hounds Hunt Ball at Bagborough House. West Bagborough,
The Blencathra Foxhounds. Coffee, cake and biscuits are provided by Mrs Dorothy
Roper in her kitchen. Hall Garth Farm, Near Braithwaite, Cumbria.
The Valley Minkhounds. Aidan Slatter takes the hounds across a fast flowing part of
the river Kennet. Near Aldermaston, Berkshire.
The Valley Minkhounds. Aidan Slatter, huntsman, with his two whips, Michael Riching
and Simon Haines, and some of their hounds. Near Aldermaston, Berkshire.
Duke of Beaufort Hunt. Puppy show competition tea. Badminton estate,