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A Ballerina and her horse

The moment I saw the advertisement in the local news paper for a photo competition with the theme “where you are free to be”,   I just had to give it a go and knew exactly how I wanted to portray the theme, because for some months after meeting a beautiful ballerina who also loves horses, I wanted to do a special photoshoot with her somehow. So in the back of my mind I had planned to photograph her in a lovely tulle skirt, corset and flowers – with her horse off course.  This was the perfect opportunity to execute that plan!   It was not easy though, as she is still in school and weekends are difficult for both of us.  I had to wait patiently for a school holiday or a public holiday to get this done.  It was a fantastic opportunity to experiment, and also to learn how to work with an animal and all this to be done outdoors where you have no control over the elements. I did her hair and make up at her home and styled the rest of the outfit on site.


I wanted to do a sunset shoot but did not think we would be so blessed with the most beautiful, wind-still sunset a photographer could ask for.



I also wanted water in the scene, and something distinguishing of my hometown Bunbury in the shot and that left me with only one legal option….. the Estuary, with our harbour in the back ground.  I was really hoping to do this on the beach as we have a beautiful beach strip but upon enquiring for permission, our local municipal council would not permit horses on the beach but the only area they ARE permitted was this training strip on the inlet.  That was ok I guess, but difficult as it did not leave me much room for movement.


I admit though, it was perfect in a sense….. Firstly, NO wind!  (I think the harbour and inlet made for a great wind break)…… We would not have been so lucky at the beach, and wind always makes things so much more difficult.  Secondly a lot of people would have made the horse very jumpy.  I realised this when a lady put her kayak in the water about 200m from us, and just that spooked her …. it took a good few minutes to calm Harmony down and she felt at ease again.


The ballerina (Kelly) was a natural in posing!  How lucky can a photographer get!!  It only took a simple gesture and she got it.  She was such a pleasure to work with!

Ballerina photo shoot

I was amazed how Harmony (the horse) was just so relaxed when Kelly stroked her, or to my amazement, blew air into her nostrils to calm her….

Girl and horse

These animals are just so majestic, beautiful and graceful. Another few great lessons learned and such an enjoyable experience. I entered 3 images and this one (bottom image) was chosen and I won 3rd place!  This is such a privilege because the 40 finalists and winning images will be on display in Bunbury Art Gallery until the 23rd August and from there permanently in Setagaya Art Gallery in Japan, our sister city. It is so fabulous to represent my town in Japan!


It was so difficult to choose a favourite as I love them all! but, there is this one…… both of them looking off into the distance, the water ever so calm, the colours in the sky just beautiful, and the two of them so comfortable with each other and of course, the harbour of Bunbury in the background….. this has to be one of my favourites!

Girl and horse at sunset

I leave you with a “behind the scenes” video of a Ballerina and her Horse…..



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