Horse Photographer Interview – Michelle Twohig

Michelle Twohig

Website & places you can find my work online

In addition to my gallery on Day With My Horse I post photos of my muse, Dodger, to my blog about becoming a first-time horseowner in midlife:
Follow Michelle on twitter: @DayWithMyHorse

Where I am
North Bend, WA (near Seattle)

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I’ve lived in the Seattle area for all of my adult life. After a brief corporate stint as a graphic designer, I started my own graphic design studio in 1982.

A big part of a graphic designer’s job is to art direct and edit photos for projects, which for me started out as print (brochures, magazines, advertising) and has evolved into mostly Web sites.


I became very comfortable with photography early on from a design and composition standpoint and although I always enjoyed taking photographs, the cost and unknown element inherent in the use of film kept me from choosing that path professionally. But once high quality digital cameras were affordable and you could see what you were getting, I was hooked.

I entered the world of equine photography in 2006 when I rescued a 2-year old Paint gelding that I named Dodger (after the Artful Dodger). He quickly became my muse, causing me to appear regularly at my barn with a camera. Others began asking me if I’d take photos of their horses. It snowballed from there.


My preference for candid, journalistic-style photographs over set-up or staged shots motivates me to seek out and capture the story that exists between a human and her horse as it unfolds when they’re together on any given day.

My experience as a graphic designer and marketing communications professional helps me edit, combine and layout the photos in a book, or apply dynamic effects to them in a DVD slideshow, in a way that tells a compelling story. My next creations will be to produce “fusion” videos, combining still images and video.

As my business grows and evolves, my underlying mission will remain to encourage and support the sweet, close connections people have with horses. I get the most joy when I watch clients look at the final products and and relive their connections. That’s the best!


When did you take your first picture?
With a pin-hole camera that I made in 8th grade for a science project. All the other cameras at that time were too complicated and too expensive for a kid to use.

What kind of camera do you use?
Canon with a f2.8 70-200mm IS lens

If you could pick any camera (regardless of price) what would it be?
I honestly don’t know. I’m eyeing a couple different models right now, one of which is not a Canon or a Nikon!


Who are your main influences?
Art Wolfe and William Thompson

What made you first start photographing horses?

Your favorite horse breed?
Too many to list, but my head turns the fastest by Gypsy Vanners and Friesians.

EZ Shake

You have a unique take on equine photography, can you tell us a little about it?
It’s the opposite of stallion sales and conformation type shots…I want completely candid.

I’m looking to convey the horse’s energy and personality more than the curve of its neck, the slope of its shoulder or the angle of its hocks.

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Yes. Dodger…see above.


Where were you the most inspired, but without a camera?
I was born with a bad case of shiny object syndrome so I’m endlessly distracted and inspired…especially by Nature. Yet I’m often without a camera.

There’s just not enough time or disk space to edit and store all the photos I’d take if I shot everything that inspired me.


What effect do you think the Internet will have on art and photography in general?
The internet and each advance in digital tools allows everyone to play, and that’s fantastic! But success in art and photography is not unlike success in training horses. Both are determined by the person behind the tools, not in the tools themselves.

The best trainers and the best photographers are adept at noticing the small things, respond quickly with a certain feel and timing, stay consistent and know how to communicate the important stuff.


Has it had an effect on yours?
It’s made the production aspects much faster and easier and wonderful for establishing niche markets.

Which one is your personal favorite image?
I couldn’t decide so I’m attaching eight favorites that make me smile for different reasons. You pick! 😉

What else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about raising awareness of and appreciation for our connection with all of nature, in general, but what I’ve learned about the potential for healing of the human spirit through human connections with horses, specifically, intrigues me most.


More to Come

Thanks to Michelle for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her photography website periodically for updates about her latest images.

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.