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Holger Schuup, who has been a renowned equestrian photographer for the past 12 years, has his roots in fashion and advertising work. We took a shine to his images and pinned him down to find out more about what makes him tick…
From shooting fashion to horses - how and why?
I took a project 12 years ago and have been hooked since then. They are so different to the usual things I used to shoot, they fascinated me and from then on I made them a part of my photographic journey. I started to make money from my images, telling me that I was doing something right and people liked my work, so I kept at it.
My fashion photography background lends itself a lot to my style. I use similar lighting setups, locations and other studio equipment on horse photography as I would on human models and this helps give me my signature style.
Do you ride?
Sometimes on one of my girlfriend's dressage horses for fun. I started learning riding when I got into horse photography to feel the unity while the horse moves and to try and understand the animals better. Wouldn't say I’m an expert though!
Tell us more about the Dirty Dressage shoot? What was the idea behind this?
It was a shoot for the CHIO Aachen Magazine at the time of the FEI European Championships 2012. We wanted to show that dressage sports are NOT boring and outdated and the new dressage generation are very cool people having fun with this sports. After the Magazine was released, I got many requests from other great dressage riders who wanted also take part in this concept, such as Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Anabel Balkenhol.
What equipment would you recommend for shooting these sports, and what do you use?
I use Nikon. One with a high speed shutter for sports like Polo or Vaulting and one with a very high resolution for single shots or advertising and fashion. Long lenses are also important.
Every had any funny or disastrous moments on a photoshoot?
I think the Dirty Dressage was a very cool and funny shoot because some of the riders hadn't no idea what the result would be until the Make Up Artist starts to throw with mud!
Will you be going to the Rio games this year? How do you think Germany are going to do?
I have some other important jobs while the Rio games. Thumb up for "my" dressage girls and the German eventing team!
What albums are you listening to at the moment?
Prince - Purple Rain
Huey Lewis and the News - Live at 25
Hollywood Vampires - Hollywood Vampires
A filet Steak (medium) or my homemade hamburger
Smoking a good Hookah with Honeymelon-Mango-Papaya-Peach tobacco taste
Favourite part of the world?
Everywhere where it's warm! Andaluz, hot summesr in aachen, Endurance in dubai...
Best film/movie you’ve seen in the past year?
Definitely Star Wars - The Force Awakens
Favourite equestrian event?
CHIO Aachen or Balve Optimum
Who’s your inspiration?
It's just the Horse :) The have the same elegance when they are dirty in a paddock as they do when in a show
What do you do in your downtime?
I'm in a band as singer and bass player, and I'm also trying to turn my garden into some kind of Baleric paradise!
Text by FEI