Wiebke Haas is doing her dream job. The 32-year-old photographer from Germany spends every day in the company of her first love: horses.
Since starting with equine photography 15 years ago, Ms. Haas has developed a special interest in breeds originating from Spain and Portugal, her images paying tribute to their regal nature.
“There was never another type of photography that intrigued me as much,” she told The Epoch Times. “I have photographed mostly Iberian horses. They are the proud horses of kings, and you can still see that noblesse in them today.”
As a professional photographer who uses a Canon R6 camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, Ms. Haas’s work not only allows her adventure, freedom, and independence but has blessed her with deep insight into the true essence of these majestic animals. The powerfully unique portraits she creates capture beauty, grace, and elegance and reveal the bonds between horses and their humans.
A trip to work with Bosnian wild horses left a lasting impression on the photographer, who describes them as “sensitive and truly connected.” Believing that all breeds combine a sense of freedom with a deep groundedness, Ms. Haas has always had an intense love for horses.
“I always wanted to have something to do with horses in my job,” she said. “As a teenager, I was impressed by the photos of professional photographers in horse magazines and started taking pictures of horses by myself. That’s when I knew I wanted to do this for a living.”
Ms. Haas is a prime example of someone who has managed to turn their passion into a profession. It’s her way of being close to the animals all the time, rather than just being with her own horses in her free time. Seeing herself as an observer, she works entirely free of the pressure of feeling the horse must achieve something for her, such as winning a competition.
“During a photo session, the horse is given enough room to unfold and just ‘be.’ They are seen for who they are,” she said.
The ability to “read” the animal is crucial, as is a calm, patient disposition, and knowledge of how to pose them gently and peacefully. The biggest potential obstacle to a good shot, says Ms. Haas, is not the horse itself but its human.
“The most challenging aspect is calming and guiding the horse owners—their energy is crucial for the horse’s behavior,” she added.
Conversely, doing photo shoots with horses that have a strong bond with their humans are “a lot of fun” says Ms. Haas, who insists that she “talks” to them, both out loud and in her mind. “They understand every word,” she said.
Does she have any tips for budding horse photographers?
“Maintain your neutrality to create a space where the horse can be itself, without expectations or conditions,” she advises, adding that the artform is a process. “It requires all your photographic skills. You need to recognize good photo spots at the horse stable. Knowing when the light is the best. Giving clear directions to people.”
She asserts that equine photography is not just about capturing beautiful animals.
“It delves deeper and reveals the horse’s relationship with its human or its own well-being,“ she said. ”Don’t rush horses to make impressive jumps and movements. Everything should be free, easy, and soft when taking pictures of horses. Every horse will give you its best in that moment. Have trust.”
The love the photographer has for her subjects shines out of her images, and viewers of her work are constantly fascinated by their clarity and light quality. Although she doesn’t have a favorite breed, Ms. Haas has a weakness for golden coats and “baroque elegance.”
A true horsewoman, she says that for those of her ilk, “the beauty, appearance, and energetic frequency of horses never let you go.” Being able to spend the whole day looking at horses is a gift, and the appreciation she receives for her work is incredibly fulfilling.
“Perhaps the most beautiful comment was when a woman said, ‘Your pictures make me want to have my own horse,’” she said.