Portfolio: A Conversation with Astrid Harrisson

by Kara Fox

International horse photographer Astrid Harrisson combines a passion for all things equine with a sensitive and perceptive approach to her photography. Following a successful career in the world of art and design – an experience in itself that has inspired Astrid to approach her subject matter in a unique and artistic manner - Astrid’s career pathway ultimately returned her focus to the horse – a life-long passion consequentially finding expression through her work; within the vast boundaries of this niche Astrid is building a solid International reputation for her talents behind the lens and for her empathy with her subjects.

Every new commission sees Astrid achieve something new, something a little different. Through both digital photography and the graphic illustration techniques employed, her resulting works are, more often than not, stylized, contemporary pieces of art. Astrid is currently represented in Dubai, the UK and USA. The powerful rhythm of Astrid’s works mimics an understanding for her equine subjects."

Why did you become such a deeply committed photographer?

I have always loved photography.  My, mother used to work in a photo library. I was brought up taking photos. During college, I took courses in design, fashion and such innovations as Photoshop.

I graduated in 2002, and my interest in photography started to really develop within me. In 2005, I was asked to go to go to Africa to document the salvaging of a 15th century ship wreck.

What was your training like?

I studied photography, art and design at school and university, but the truly technical side of photography I learnt in Mozambique, whilst working on a shipwreck excavation project in 2006. It was then I bought my first DSLR (a Nikon D70), and by the end of that year had paid for the camera by shooting weddings with a friend of mine. We went into business together and gradually built up confidence and experience. It was after the trip to the USA in 2008 that I began to focus solely on horses, which are undoubtedly a lifelong passion.

What caused the Interest in horses?

Whilst living and working in London, a friend gave me a coffee table book entitled Spirit Horse. I devoured it night after night, and finally found myself signing up to a photographic workshop with Mustangs in California. I left my job and headed first to South America, where I worked on a ranch for a few months, photographing the goings on, caring for guests and riding out into the beautiful countryside. Following this, I went to North America for the workshop with Tony Stromberg in California, where the magic all began. 

Astrid shares her discoveries through her sensitive documentations, some of which can be found in her recent book The Majesty of the Horse, a collaboration with renowned British author Tamsin Pickeral, published in the UK by Harper Collins.

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