Linda Finstad – Horse Photographer Interview

Linda's workName
Linda Finstad

Website & places you can find my work online

Where I am
Based in Edmonton Alberta – Canada

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
My name is Linda Finstad and I was born in England. I grew up in small rural community where it was normal for kids to learn to ride a horse before they rode a 2 wheel bicycle and I got my first pony for my fourth birthday.

My childhood revolved around horse shows and pony club – what I took for granted back then, in hindsight was obviously a very privileged upbringing.

As my mother bought me very nice show ponies and hunters that were fit to win at county level.

Linda's work

Horses were my life and it only seemed natural to work in the industry so I studied at Wrae Green Equestrian Centre for my BHSAI – once qualified I taught riding there for a couple of years before moving on to open a saddlery store. And once again I was back at the shows with a trade stand.

I came to Canada about 14 years ago and for a while felt quite lost I didn’t know where the shows were held or how to get involved in the horse industry.

So in an attempt to re-invent myself I went back to school to learn photography this was a very challenging but rewarding process but it was only when the teacher asked the class “What do you really want to take pictures of?” that it struck me Horses and Dogs of course. With all my experience not only in the show ring but also as a trainer I have an extremely good eye when it comes horses. This coupled with my formal photography training makes capturing fabulous shots so much easier.

Linda's work

I feel I have come full circle and feel extremely privileged to be the official photographer at many horse shows and dog agility events in Alberta.

I really do have the best job in the world as I get to photograph some amazing animals and very talented handlers, horsemen and women.

I am currently working on probably the biggest commission of my entire career.

The “Equine Heritage Exhibit” a photographic study of all the breeds of horses that make up the equine population of Alberta. Once this two year project is completed it will be housed in the Provincial Archive museum.

Linda's work

Providing a snapshot in time of what “All” the breeds not only look like but also what they are used for. A fabulous resource for future generations.

I am truly blessed to spend my days capturing the beauty of Horses.

When did you take your first picture?
I had a little point and shoot when I was a teenager but I took pictures just for fun. It was only after taking some classes that I really began to “See the light” and start taking pictures worth keeping

You were recently commissioned by the Archive Museum in Edmonton to document & photograph the equine breeds. How did you become involved in the project?
It took several meetings and lots of discussion before the project was given the green light.

Linda's work

Have a favorite breed so far?
It is very hard to pick a favorite, I really liked the shires, and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with the paso finos — the youngsters were so much fun and posed so beautifully for me, I went to a very very nice equine establishment in Wainright and photographed spanish horses, a young who had been classically trained at the Spanish Riding school rode the stallions for me and executed high school dressage movements as I clicked my shutter. Which has to be a highlight of my summer. But the mules and donkeys were fun and the miniature horses – despite their small stature were proud and hauty. I love them all.

You photograph far more than just horses, are they your favorite subject or just a recent obsession?
Yes horses are and always have been my first love, with dogs coming a close second.

Linda's work

However I do photograph all kinds of subjects from runway models to show homes for an interior design magazine.

What kind of camera do you use?
I shoot with canon equipment – my main equine camera is a 1D coupled with a 70 – 200 lens and I have a 5D as back up and for commercial work along with a variety of lenses depending on the subject.

Who are your main influences?
I dont really have any influences – I am at that age when I only do what I want to do. I find if you really want to do something you do it so much better.

Linda's work

Where were you the most inspired, but without a camera?
I was visiting my mother in England and we went to Appleby fair ( a traditional gypsy gathering) and they were bathing the horses in the river ready for the sale, it was a beautiful sight but alas I didn’t have my camera with me.

What effect do you think the Internet will have on photography?
The Internet is very visual and screams for good images, to sell goods and services. It also allows a photographer to show his images to potential customers – as a show photographer I really don’t know how I could possibly operate my business without the Internet.

I do 90% of my business on line – the other 10% is commercial work where my clients want all their images on a disc.

Has it had an effect on yours?
I never knew life without it.

Linda's work

Which one is your personal favorite image?
Oh my goodness – I have taken over 1,000,000 images I usually have a favorite from each shoot however I went on a little adventure last May and shot some amazing wildlife pictures – because they are so different from my usual subjects I would probably pick one of a mountain lion or a grizzly bear.

What else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about Jesus and thank Him every day for the opportunity to see and capture his wonderful creation, Horses are truly a gift from God and we are so blessed they desire a relationship with us. I wonder how far man would have progressed without the help of a horse. Even in our technically advanced society he is still a great teacher and companion.

Linda's work

More to Come

Thanks to Linda for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her photography site periodically for updates about her latest works.

Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.

One Comment on “Linda Finstad – Horse Photographer Interview

  1. Debra Finstad Childers

    Your photographs are gorgeous – I have a google alert set up for Finstad which is my maiden name. Wonderful to see your work. Hopefully we are somehow related as you are so talented! :)

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