by Kristina Kern
An image is more than just a thousand words, it is a story. One of impactful moments, big accomplishments, and dreams turning into reality. It takes a trained and creative eye to freeze these stories in a photograph and make them last for a lifetime. It almost appears to be magic. In that sense, photographer, Christy Burleson, is a very talented magician.
With over 20 years of photography experience, Burleson has been able to blend her passion for horses with her love of photography to create a career that most could only dream of. Christy boasts a stunning portfolio of photos from her years in the industry that ranges from family photo shoots and weddings to cattle branding and Grand Prix jumper classes.
In fact, in Thermal, California at this year's $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, as Rich Fellers stole the show aboard Lux Lady with a jump off time of 39.052 seconds Burleson was there behind the lens.
After partnering with companies like Purina and Performance Microbials to photograph sponsored riders, Christy expanded her business exponentially. This move has sent her around the country to shoot various events, including Wellington, Florida to cover portions of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. During our interview, Burleson humbly depicted a grocery list of accomplished riders that she has had the pleasure of working with over the years. “My photography has allowed me the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people.. a name like Purina attracts a high caliber of rider..” she stated of her career.
In between traveling for different equestrian competitions, Burleson fills her days with personalized photo shoots, designed to highlight each individual's unique passion for the sport. “I want my images to empower people, to make people happy, to bring out people's personality,” Burleson stated.
When thumbing through Burleson’s portfolio of images, it is clear that behind each image there is purpose, there is a deeper message. She said of her craft, “I love taking special photos that can touch a family and give them something that will last them forever.” Her talent goes beyond the action shot and allows her to blend artistry and sport together to create a level of duality within her images. Burleson’s photography style can both capture the ethereal beauty of the horse and rider relationship, along with the strength and determination of a horse on the job.
Burleson’s keen eye was developed through her own experiences with horses. She frequently competes with her gelding Peps Smokin for Cash, also known as Rebel, in rodeos around the western region, specifically spending her time in the barrel racing arena. Rebel is Burleson’s trusted assistant when it comes to more active photoshoots. It is not uncommon to see her riding along side her subjects to obtain the best shots.
Burleson has successfully been able to immortalize her love for the equestrian world by creating her own unique path within the industry. She not only freezes time for her subjects in front of the camera but has been able to preserve her own passion for a lifetime. Burleson truly has created magic.
**Look for Part II of the series from our conversation with Christy Burleson and more of her images coming soon.