ABOUT PAGE FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER – DETAILS CHANGED
I’m a photographer of equine and rural lifestyles. My favorite subjects are huge horses that love to work, dogs that dive into ponds and people with manure on their boots. Through my courses and workshops, I help photographers create bold, memorable images that blur the boundaries between art and realism and tell stories that change the way we see the world.
Art photography can transform your photography business. Art photography gives you access to new markets and expands your opportunities in many rewarding ways.
But art photography calls for special skills that most photographers don’t use every day – texturing, special types of lighting and composition. You also need strong skills in post processing and editing software.
When working with rural subjects and horses, you must learn how to enter their world and communicate their special qualities to a new audience.
That’s where I come in. I have been working in the field of art photography for over fifteen years.
I taught myself how to photograph horses, which meant making many mistakes along the way. For instance, I needed to learn to watch the ears of the horses to know when they’re working as a team. I learned how to wait till a horse moved his head into position. And I learned how to choose equipment, select the lenses for each photo, and work with natural lighting at different times of day, in different parts of the world.
A Lifetime of Horses, Farms and Dogs
For rural photography, you must know the lifestyle intimately, either by living it yourself or drawing on your childhood experiences. The skills I share with clients come from a lifetime of living closely with (and sometimes whispering to) my subjects.
I was raised in a small farm town south of Chicago. And I have spent my entire adult life working closely with animals.
Soon after graduating high school, I became a professional dog groomer — a business I ran for over 20 years. I spent three years managing the broodmare division of a large quarterhorse ranch in Ocala, Florida. I worked with veterinarian when foals were born and with the trainers when the foals learned haltering.
But I wanted to work on the big horses on big ranches, so I moved to Montana. My husband and I spent 10 years working together on cattle ranches and guest ranches. I became a Certified Equine Massage Therapist, so I understand the anatomy and physiology of these complex, sensitive animals.
How I Became A Horse Photographer
In 2009 I was living in Montana, selling used western saddles and tack on eBay. It was the beginning of the digital era of photography so I bought a CanonRebel xT1.
When the camera arrived on a cold January day, I didn’t wait to read the manual. I wanted to get started right away.
Through the snowfall, I saw some horses eating away at their bale feeder. I quickly put the camera in auto mode, pointed at one of the horses and snapped away.
To my surprise, the image [shown in the original] appeared on my computer screen. I could not believe the details of the snow and the horse’s coat.
“If horses could look this good on camera,” I thought, “I can become an equine photographer.” And that was the gift, the gift that pointed me to my future.
What I didn’t realize is that I’d just gotten lucky. It would take six more years of living with horses and photographing them before I would take another photograph of that quality — and learn to achieve this results consistently, with all kinds of horses, in all kinds of weather. That’s why I’m so committed to my training programs: it is so exciting to see these photos, and my students don’t have to wait six years to learn the equipment and the techniques.
Documenting a Disappearing Way Of Life
I realized that one day my great grandchildren would have no idea what life was like back when I was their age. So I began to build a photographic documentary.
It is not just the landscape that seems to be changing. We’re also losing many of the things we use to do, like hanging your clothes on the line outdoors, entering projects in the county fair and keeping chickens in the back yard. We’ve lost sounds like the rooster crowing, church bells ringing on the hour, and bees buzzing in the garden.
I feel it is important to make this record, as our lifestyle is being threatened daily by the constant increase in population. I wish my grandchildren had grown up with the freedom I enjoyed as a child. I understand why that’s no longer possible, but it is still sad to see these changes. The only thing I can do is use my photography to tell the stories of those who still live this quiet lifestyle on a remote back road somewhere.
Then, when, my grandchildren are my age, they will be able to share all of this with their grandchildren. I guess you could call this my legacy.
And I’m pleased to help my students work to create their own legacies for their own families, friends and organizations. To learn more about how I work with students who want to photograph rural life, visit [page].