Finding the Magic of Horses in Her Lens
Interview by Kim Roe
I first met Tamara Gooch in November of 2017 when I took part in one of her photography workshops in Portugal. I’d always wanted to travel there and was interested in learning something about photography beyond my abilities with a point-and-shoot camera. Obviously, photographing horses clinched the deal.
It was an experience of a lifetime! Tamara, along with husband Jess Lee and photographer Keron Psillas, exceeded all expectations. Most of the other workshop attendees were already accomplished photographers, but Tamara, Jess, and Keron were incredibly patient and encouraging. I came home with lots of knowledge, beautiful photographs and a bunch of new friends.
Since then I’ve been following Tamara’s photography on Facebook. The quality of her work is astounding. A resident of Idaho, she travels to farms all over the world for her photo shoots. Tamara also specializes in museum quality fine art equine prints.
When did you become a professional photographer? Why horses?
After owning horses my entire life and loving photography for as long as I can remember, I started photographing my daughter and her friends at local hunter/jumper shows and things just kind of took off from there. In 2005 I left my weekly paycheck to pursue my passion and I’ve never looked back.
When I first thought of photography as more than a hobby I was interested in nature and wildlife photography, but horses seemed to always find their way in front of my lens. I knew that if I was going to make it as a full-time professional photographer I had to photograph what I loved more than anything else in the world, because that passion would take me places I wouldn’t otherwise go.
I want everyone who has ever loved a horse, whether they own one or not, to feel the magic they exude. They are an extremely powerful animal that can also be the calm in the middle of a storm. I love the relationships between people and their horses. Horses are companions, soul mates, and can even be the defender or champion for some. Capturing those emotions is priceless.
Describe your history and your present with horses.
My first memories of horses were three ponies we had at our summer home in Wyoming that I appropriately named, Blackie, Brownie and Whitey. I got my first “real” horse at age 12, a Quarter Horse off the track. The rest, as they say, is history. I currently own a PRE/Andalusian stallion and a Lusitano gelding.
What are the high points of being an equine photographer? Low points?
High point–being there. Being a part of something that gives me so much joy. For me there is nothing better.
Low points? Well, photographically there aren’t any. Business-wise, there are many responsibilities and they sometimes can be difficult. As a photographer I want to be out shooting and then processing images, but I spend more time on business tasks than shooting.
Explain what’s involved in participating in a workshop with you.
The number one thing I want people to do is to show up with enthusiasm. Bring your camera, lots of memory cards and you’re all set to take great images. My workshops are geared for every level of photographer from beginner to advanced. I like to keep things fun and low key. You can expect to learn as much or as little as you want.
Workshops are so much more than sitting behind a computer and learning photoshop, although if that’s your goal, it’s mine as well. My workshops are designed to help you discover what your vision is and how to make the camera capture that vision.
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.