On our January-February edition cover, professional equine portrait photographer and mum, Louise Sedgman has captured a moment of family fun as her daughters Grace and Emma play under the sprinklers with their ‘worth-their-weight-in-gold’ ponies Petal and Midnight on a hot summer’s evening.
Born in England and based in Drouin, Victoria, Louise says she’s loved horses her whole life; “I’m completely obsessed!” she laughs. “I got my first pony at age 5 and have had horses in my life ever since.” Although her direct family was not into horses at all, Louise was lucky enough to have cousins who were, and her first pony Gina, “a sweet Skewbald Welsh cross pony with spunk” came from them and taught Louise a lot.
The winner of the prestigious Australian Institute of Professional Photographers 2018 Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year, Louise is passionate about three things: family, photography and her horses. “In my teens and early twenties, I used to draw horses in pastel and wanted to capture my own subject matter” she explains. “My mum bought my first film SLR camera when I was 23… the rest is history. I fell in love, completely! That was 22 years ago. I haven’t drawn for years now, but I photograph a lot!
Louise loves everything about horses and says she is fascinated by the way they move. “They are beautiful, graceful (well, most of the time anyway!). The way their feet move and the sound they make. I could watch a horse move all day.” Louise’s photos have graced many of Horses and People Magazine’s covers in the past few years. She has a special talent for capturing that special magic that happens when people are close to their horses and for her, capturing that moment is a deeply personal purpose.
“I had a beautiful horse that I got when I was about 10 years old, her name was Ebony. I lost her 4 days before my 30th Birthday and she was a huge part of my life. I shared so many experiences with her and I have barely anything but the memories in my head to remind me of her. “I wish every day that I had more photos of us together. That’s what I create now. Beautiful memories of the special relationships people have with their horses. At the end of the day, that’s often all we have left” says Louise.
Close friends and family are Louise’s strong support network; “Family is important to me and with two girls, 6 and 9, I’m a busy working mum. My days are about getting them ready for school, then coming home and working. That might be shooting, editing, creating, teaching or all of the above. I don’t get to ride much, but with a better work life balance in the process, I’ll be back in the saddle asap.”
She says the best advice she’s received for navigating life’s challenges has been to always be the best you can be. Stick to your guns and follow through. Be kind, uplift others, take risks and work hard. “Professionally, I definitely find the business side of things a bit tricky. But, with an amazing network of people around me and my fabulous business mentor Annie Murray, I’m much better at it now! “Personally, riding with fear issues is hard. I can’t afford to get hurt and that’s a tough hurdle to leap but I’m working on it! My husband and girls, along with the rest of our family, have been amazing and are always there to support me in every way. My dear friends Ruth and Ken inspire, motivate and encourage me every day too, and my world is what it is because of their support.
And Louise has some advice for anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps. “Be prepared to work hard. Keep your mind open to new learning all the time. Constantly grow your network and surround yourself with positive people. Challenge yourself, don’t let the doubt stop you and do what you love every day.”