People of the Horse – Erika Larsen

In the spotlight

Meet Erika Larsen, armed with her camera, she spent two years travelling to remote locations in the western area of the United States. Her desire was to learn about the significant of the horse in Native American culture and capture that intrinsic partnership through her lens.

What is your earliest memory of horses?
The earliest memory I have of horses is from a picture taken of me riding a pony in elementary school. I believe it must have been from a field trip and everyone got a picture taken on a pony.

How did the ‘People of the Horse’ project come about?

‘People of the Horse’ was an assignment for National Geographic. The idea was to follow the horse today through Native American culture to explore its significance culturally, economically, spiritually and historically.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

The most challenging part was the time. I could spend many more years working on this.

What was the most rewarding part of this project?
The most rewarding part was the time I spent with the people. I met many amazing families that taught me so much about their culture. I am forever thankful for this.

What photograph in your People of the Horse collection are you most proud of? 

I am never very good at choosing one thing I am proud of or something I like the best. Every picture had something important to teach me and each one represents a part of a large whole.

The relationship between rider and horse is extremely special, how do you capture this so beautifully?

Photographs are a gift therefore every image was something given. I don’t believe I captured anything. I was only interpreting, in that moment, the story being told to me.

What are your ideal photographic conditions? Do you like to shoot ‘off-the-hip’ or do you prefer to plan?
I would not say that I plan a picture but more that I spend time waiting for the moment that something is expressed and given to me.

What camera and lenses do you use?

I use a variety of cameras from a DSLR, twin lens reflect and 45 field cameras.

For our globetrotters – do you have any trade tips in capturing equines in their best possible light?

There is light everywhere not only outside the horse but inside as well. Create your own connection with the landscape and the horse, be silent and the image will appear.

And lastly, how have horses changed your life?

The horses introduced me to new friends, new perspectives and new worlds.
They showed me the power of nature and the power healing can have on our world if we chose it.

For more information on Erika Larsen click here.

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