An equine photographer, who became enamored with horses in youth, has found the perfect foil against which to capture their romantic spirit: cherry blossoms. For her, the vision of horses, strong and majestic, amidst pink petals, fleeting and delicate, is so dear that she ever longs for springtime.
Originally from Finland, 24-year-old Jenna Vainionpää now lives and works in Sweden. She began exploring photography in 2009. Six years later, she attended her first horse show as a photographer, where horses became her favorite photo subject.
“I started to do ‘Under the Cherry Blossom’ photoshoots during spring 2019,” Jenna told The Epoch Times. “The idea came from inspiration that I found on the internet, mostly Instagram. We had six models [on the first day], and had the pleasure to capture both pink blossoms and some unique white ones at the same place.
“Something I like to work with the eyes of a horse; they tell the complete story,” she explained. “The nature around is just an effect that adds to the story … my biggest goal, and something I hope that people can feel with my photos, is the expression of a horse with a soul.”
That first magical photo shoot helped Jenna’s business to grow, and allowed her to be more creative in her editing process. “Harsh sunlight is always a struggle, especially with the pink flowers and where the horse can stand,” she said, “but with patience and hard work, you can solve a lot.”
Yet it’s not as easy as simply showing up.
Jenna shared: “During the planning of sessions, you always need to look up if it’s okay for either the city or the landlord when you bring in such a big animal. When you have permission, you can start putting pieces together.
“You need to look up nearby parking for the horse trailer, and make it a safe trip from the parking to the location of choice. In Sweden, most parks with cherry blossom are close to schools, workplaces, or big roads, so it isn’t always a good time to visit … I always choose either late in the evening before sunset, or right after sunrise.”
Sessions are centered around shooting the horses from their “best side,” said Jenna. She finds sound apps, horse candy, hobby horses, and plastic bags to be helpful props during a shoot, and usually ends up with one special spot from where she can experiment with different angles and depths of field.
A photo shoot typically takes Jenna between 30 and 90 minutes; editing photos can take between five minutes to hours. “Some photos need to wait, almost like a fine wine,” she added.
Jenna, who works full time as a photographer and part time in customer support, grew up with her family’s horse and was quickly captivated by its elegance. She said working with equines requires knowing horses and what they need—a skill she developed early on.
She explained: “As an equine photographer, or for any animal, we need to have much more patience. We need to be able to read them and know how they work together with their owners. You need to be able to know when it’s time to stop, and what brings out the best from them.
“Whenever I visit a new place, I often have the thought of bringing a horse to the location.”
While Jenna’s other works focus on landscapes, she often thinks of horses as the last “puzzle piece.” She hopes to marry her favorite subject with freshly-blooming cherry blossom again in spring 2022 for more fleetingly beautiful photo shoots.
“I have a new place, that I tried out once last year, that has wonderful pink tones and a lot of space for the horses to move,” she said. “I also want to involve human models to add some feeling of trust, love, and teamwork.”
Imploring others to cherish and admire nature as she does, she added: “Take time when you’re out in nature, and let your mind be creative!”