Women we love

Pho­tog­ra­pher Amanda King and her furry friends

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - In­ter­view by Fiona Ralph. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Kate Clar­idge.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Amanda King’s sub­jects aren’t your usual mod­els. The High­land and An­gus cows that star in her fine art prints are res­i­dents of the farm she lives on in Darfield, Can­ter­bury, with hus­band Fraser, daugh­ter Grace and son Dud­ley, and the fam­ily’s many pets (two cats, a pug grif­fon cross, two lambs and four cows).

While train­ing in pho­tog­ra­phy to teach the craft to her stu­dents, the for­mer school­teacher dis­cov­ered she had the knack and soon took it up as a hobby. Af­ter tak­ing a num­ber of other cour­ses, a chil­dren’s pho­tog­ra­phy busi­ness be­came her creative out­let. Last year, she shot a large-for­mat photo of a hairy cow for her liv­ing room. Her friends in­stantly wanted prints, which sig­nalled the gen­e­sis of her new ven­ture, By The Horns. “I sensed an op­por­tu­nity, and within nine weeks had built up a fol­low­ing of 16,000 on Face­book,” says Amanda, whose busi­ness now boasts 22,000 fol­low­ers.

Amanda also sells botan­i­cal prints, scenic shots and other adorable an­i­mal pho­tos, but cows will al­ways be the stars of the show. She tells us how she jug­gles a bur­geon­ing busi­ness with life on the farm.

What in­spired you to start By The Horns? Liv­ing on a sheep and beef farm, I am sur­rounded by an­i­mals all day. I’m a huge an­i­mal lover and aim to pet ev­ery­thing in our pad­dock that’s not there purely to eat! I’ve al­ways wanted a large print of a hairy cow on my wall, so I went out look­ing for one to pho­to­graph. I got it printed to a large 40x30 inch size and then had a few re­quests from friends to do the same for them. I fig­ured, why not keep do­ing this with all the other ru­ral an­i­mals around me and see where it takes me?

What ad­vice would you give to some­one want­ing to start a small busi­ness? You have to be pre­pared to put your­self out there, take the risks in­volved and give it a go. You will never know if you are go­ing to suc­ceed un­less you give it a go. It helps to sur­round your­self with sup­port­ive peo­ple who en­cour­age you and take an in­ter­est in your busi­ness. I am lucky my hus­band has en­cour­aged me and my busi­ness 100 per­cent. There will be tough times, but own­ing a busi­ness can be so re­ward­ing. There is noth­ing like be­ing your own boss and get­ting to do what you love at the same time.

How do you man­age a busi­ness with two small chil­dren? As any­body who has chil­dren and runs their own small busi­ness will know, it can be very

chal­leng­ing at times. It is a mat­ter of pri­ori­tis­ing your days and time. My chil­dren go to preschool twice a week, so those are my busy days. On the days they are home I try to give all my at­ten­tion to them and tend to do my work af­ter they have gone to sleep.

One of the re­ward­ing as­pects of hav­ing a small busi­ness is that I get to work from home and spend more time with my chil­dren. Of course it doesn’t al­ways go to plan – some days when the chil­dren are home it may get busy and I may have par­tic­u­lar things that need to be dealt with straight away so I just roll with it.

What do you love about pho­tog­ra­phy? Great pho­to­graphs move me, and pho­tog­ra­phy forces me to look at the world much harder. I re­ally en­joy what I do, whether that is tak­ing pho­tos of chil­dren or an­i­mals. When I’m pho­tograph­ing, I’m all in. And in ad­di­tion to my cam­era, I usu­ally carry a big dumb grin around with me. All wor­ries, sad­ness and re­grets are for­got­ten. What do you like about pho­tograph­ing an­i­mals? An­i­mals are un­der­rated as sub­jects; they’re full of so much per­son­al­ity and I hope to cap­ture that in my pho­to­graphs. They are so in­quis­i­tive! They of­ten come up to me, cau­tiously suss­ing out what I am and what my in­ten­tions are.

Why do you love cows? Cows are gen­tle an­i­mals who are af­fec­tion­ate, emo­tional and in­tel­li­gent. They love to be pet­ted, stroked and scratched be­hind the ears. They are very lov­ing and wel­come in­ter­ac­tions with kind peo­ple. They form close bonds to peo­ple who are kind to them and they have a lot of per­son­al­ity. They will never for­get you.

You have to put your­self out there, take

risks and give it a go

Amanda with her fam­ily on the sheep and beef farm which func­tions as her out­door of­fice in Darfield, Can­ter­bury.

Amanda says she has had an amaz­ing re­ac­tion to her pho­to­graphs of cows and other an­i­mals, a re­sponse she “wasn’t ex­pect­ing at all”.

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