Artist Spotlight: Bev Pettit

I am lucky to regularly come across work from great photographers in my research. It is so easy to be inspired by a photographer like Bev Pettit. Her timing, eye for lighting and graceful editing help to capture the personality, emotion and energy of each horse she photographs. Please enjoy several of her images and read below to learn a bit more about her and her process. A print from Bev would make a wonderful gift don’t you think?

How long have you been a photographer and how did you get into it?

I picked up my first camera when I moved to Hong Kong in 1991. I was working overseas in as publications manager for the research department for a large American bank while utilizing my college degree in fine art and my background in business management. Living in Asia for six years provided ample opportunity to travel. Decidedly, I chose the camera for my art medium so that I could capture and document the lives of the people in villages and cities in Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Malaysia and other fascinating places during holidays and time off from my regular job.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I use Canon cameras and lenses for most of my photographic work. However, last year I bought the Pentax 645Z digital medium format camera and three fixed lenses. It’s nice to be able to get those large sized prints from the Pentax.

Do you do much photo manipulating after shooting?

Some images get more digital darkroom work than others. It just depends on what I ultimately want to get from an image. I take some fine art images to a higher level than say a portrait. But for the most part the majority of my work gets just the basic edits in Photoshop and Lightroom.

How does a typical shoot for you run?

If time allows I prefer to scout my location for backgrounds, lighting, shade and shadows before a shoot. But in reality that can’t always happen. For portrait sessions, horse/human or just horse portraits, I don’t spend a lot of time at all shooting. It doesn’t take long to capture what I am looking for once I get on location. Typically, I set up my equipment (which consists of tripod and camera with one lens and only available light) then pose my subject and shoot. If I’m out in the field with a horse or group of horses I will walk around within the group until they become relaxed with having me there before I begin to shoot.

How do you get inspired?

I have been influenced by many other photographers over the years. I most admire the photographers who shot using black and while film and then toned their images in traditional wet darkrooms. But my inspiration comes from within. I can go out on any given day and find at least one thing that inspires me. I might see something that others may find ordinary, photograph it and then work it in my digital darkroom to bring out what I saw in my mind’s eye when I first noticed it. This is what inspires me. Taking the ordinary and then creating something extraordinary with it.

How did the horse become one of your primary subjects?

I have always loved horses. Growing up in a small rural community in the midwest USA, I had my own horses and it was easy to ride whenever I wanted to. It was only when I didn’t have them close by, when I lived in Hong Kong and London, that I really began to appreciate how lucky I was to have them in my life. So when I moved back to the US in the year 2000 my family settled on a small ranch in Arizona where we currently live with our four horses right out my back door. Now with ranches and horses once again surrounding me it is easy for me to go out and be with them and photograph them at a moment’s notice.

What is your history with horses?

Tell us a bit about the most important horses in your life. I grew up riding horses in Minnesota. There are two horses that will always have a huge place in my heart. My first very own horse was Mr. Schatz, a grade Quarter Horse gelding. He and I were best friends when I was 13. He took good care of me as we rode for hours on end through the bluffs and pastures together. My second most important horse is one of my current horses, Skeeter (Sandini Skeet), another Quarter Horse gelding. Skeeter and I have had each other for going on nine years now. He is the wisest, smartest horse I have ever known. Skeeter is a one-of-a-kind horse. The kind that you’ll only find once in your life. He’s now my best friend and confidant, always there for me, and one of my favorite equine models.

Do you have anything else you would like to say or focus on?

Horses are in my blood. I feel like my artwork has given me the opportunity to know them inside and out. Therefore, I always try to capture their true essence and personality in my photographs. It has been said that the eye is the window to the soul. Horses convey their personality through their facial expressions and body language but they speak volumes with their eyes. Taking the time to get to know a horse, and appreciate his/her individuality, is so important in my opinion. If we truly want to become partners and best friends with our horses we need give them the chance to speak to us, and then listen with both ears in return.

How can our readers purchase your artwork?

My work can be purchased directly through me. I offer custom signed prints as loose paper prints, metal, plexiglass or canvas prints in virtually an size. I enjoy working with clients to help them get the perfect art piece for their home or office. The best way to reach me is via email at [email protected] You can also check out my website here.