Amanda King looked to her own backyard – and some gorgeous hairy cows – for inspiration when launching her fine art photography business: By The Horns
This photographer’s chic animal prints will add moody style to your decor
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 40×30 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.
Interview by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Kate Claridge.