Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography? How did you develop your style in photography?
I was really into photography as a teenager – I remember saving up to buy my first SLR camera and two kit lenses from Dixons! I won’t mention brands but I soon moved onwards and upwards to a beautiful Nikon SLR, shooting grainy black & white film and then developed an addiction to Fuji Velvia. I spent many an evening cycling and driving round chasing sunsets and beautiful light.
Style-wise has taken a lot longer – I had a big gap in photography when horses and work took over – until I revisited my then hobby, about 12 years ago.
Since then photography has become a significant part of my life and now business. I’ve shot portraits, boudoir, bumps, babies, business portraits and even an odd wedding or two, but that didn’t do it for me. I found myself shooting images to keep others happy – not fulfilling my own creative destiny.
These days, subject wise, I’m entirely focused on my other passion in life: horses. I have ridden all my life, and I truly believe if you totally love and connect with your subject, it makes your work stronger.
Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?
I’d been carrying around heavy Nikon kit for years and frankly was quite tired!
I started shooting mirrorless fairly early – and given my love of Fuji way back, it seemed the logical place to start. Plus, there is no denying the cameras are beautiful. I love beautiful things… I love the images which the Fuji kit produces, I love the handling – and I love the lightness and flexibility the system affords me.
I’ve tested, tested and tested a bit more – some days I think my X-T1 might actually go into meltdown shooting high speed horses day in day out, but it continues to deliver.
Alongside my workhorse 50-140mm, I’ve also become a complete convert to the fast Fuji prime lenses. The quality and sharpness is amazing. Favourites include the 14mm, 23mm and 35mm lenses.
Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?
I guess my philosophy is a recent and personal one: Follow your dreams and shoot what you love.
As a photographer you have to develop a thick skin – and that’s something I wasn’t good at! I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep everyone happy all of the time. Obviously a fruitless task, but I still do my best!
Especially when you shoot one very niche subject, some people will love what you do, others just won’t get it. So long as I stay true to my core and get to the end of each year with images I am proud of, I’m happy. I shoot horse pictures for horse lovers – they get it, they see it, they feel it.
The fact that people then buy those images for their own walls is a huge compliment. It was a real buzz when prints were first sold to overseas clients in the USA and New Zealand – the hard work is paying off.
Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?
Wow, how long have you got?! I was the kid who saved up her pocket money to go into Waterstones (still love Waterstones!) to buy the Ansel Adams calendar each year. When the year was done I framed the pictures. My world was black and white, surrounded by snow-laden trees and lived under inky skies.
I’m a book person – and the bookshelf is crammed with a variety of beautiful publications which I revisit regularly: Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Colin Prior, Paul Kenny, Tim Flach, Amanda Lockhart, Jonathan Chritchley and most recently Michael Levin. Michael’s work is a quest for modern perfection – I admire him tremendously.
Mother nature also inspires me – light, breeze, weather, the ocean and of course, horses.
Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?
My tip is to stay true. There’s another good quote I live & work by: ‘A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.’
Another photographer recently said to me that ‘I make my life more difficult trying to shoot horses with a mirrorless camera’ – why didn’t I shoot an easier subject? What would be the joy or fulfilment in that?!
Do your own thing – if it’s difficult, try harder. If you have an idea – work out how to achieve it. If you are not sure – seek & learn!
What’s next for you?
I’m off to Wyoming to a remote ranch to shoot…you guessed it, horses!
It’s a completely new location for me. If I don’t shoot different horses soon, I’ll be ‘the woman who was obsessed with grey horses’.
The Polo season has just started too, so I’m working on a creative idea to produce beautiful art prints from this adrenaline fuelled sport.
I’ve also just taken on a beautiful but slightly broken racehorse. She’s likely to feature in future work – and she’s NOT GREY!
In fact this is her, in her previous life…my amazing girl.
Categories: X-Photographer Spotlight