About Emma Ziff
I'm a leading equine photographer. So you’d expect me to own a horse. But I don't. Nope. I own lorryloads of horses.
There’s a lot of hay. And a lot of shovelling. On top of that, my house reverberates to the noisy chaos of a husband, six kids and nine dogs.
It’s this effervescent rush of life that fuels my work. It feeds my observation, offers visual options and gives me plenty of scope for practice.
Since being a kid in my dad’s dark room, I've taken photos. I shot my kids (not like that) and moved on to weddings, parties and headshots. But horses were my first love.
I learned not just to take great shots, but to think my way around them. To consider light, detail, interpretation, ways of thinking, and when to stop for lunch. I surrounded myself with like-minded people.
Today, I'm mainly surrounded by horses. I take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. But there’s nothing ordinary about horses.
Since saving my paper-round money for my first pony, I've loved their muscled flanks, a twitchy nose, a poked-out tongue or a quizzical tilt of the head. I love the mucky barn work. Their breath on an autumn morning. The lack of exhaust fumes.
I knows and feel your love.
Why equine photography?
Why equine photography? Is that even a question?
Be honest, did your younger self long to become a data-entry clerk? An almond-grader? Or the person who removes the hairy pork scratchings from the conveyor belt?
You did. I apologise. They’re worthy careers. But not ones that make your heart beat out of your chest. They’re not The Dream.
Being a horse photographer, however, is. This was, after all, the young girl who saved up her pocket money to buy a pony.
It all began aged five when my mum and dad took me to the local stables to learn to ride. Sadly for them, I loved it. My dad swallowed hard and phoned Eric, the bank manager.
Half a lifetime later, I still keep horses. Many horses. (Exact number available on request.)
But that’s only half of the equation (the equine bit). The photography took off when my dad introduced me to cameras. Sorry, dad, I loved them too. He phoned Eric again.
A lifetime of clickery had begun. Amateur photography gave way to shooting my kids like they were going out of fashion (they were). I studied the art, took courses, and learned how to use a camera and interpret shots.
I surrounded myself with like-minded people. We droned on about lighting and exposure and photomontages until our ears fell off. I shot weddings, parties, headshots. But there was something missing. Apart from our ears.
A fine-art horse-photography course followed. Lucky you.
Year of production: 2023. Running Time: 2:30 min
Color / Sound / Subtitled