Esther Bunning grew up on a dairy farm in Taranaki, New Zealand,and her love of soft, dreamy realities is surely a throwback to this rural world. She loves working with sunlight, working quickly to adjust to the light of any situation, and she loves to photograph using a range of creative tools to capture images in-camera that reflect the energy and life of her subjects. Her use of movement and blur is evocative and emotive, and captures the essence of a mood, and her portraits may have soft lines, chalky hues and moody enigma, or bright pops of colour to show humour and energy.

Esther's striking style unites her creative eye, her fluid use of colour, and her knack of capturing people and horses in their natural state wth a hint of mystery and layers of life.

Esther is respected as one of New Zealand's finest portrait photographers. She is a double Grand Master of the NZIPP (New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography), a Nikon Ambassador for New Zealand, and has won many awards, both nationally and internationally, for her photography.

Esther's Story

Like so many young girls, I was crazy about horses when I was growing up. Although I grew up in a family of four girls, my love of horses was only shared by my lovely Gran. She was a commercial artist back in her youth, and never stopped painting and drawing as she grew older.  I can still hear her gentle voice describing her love of horses; their beauty, and how they moved and galloped in sunlight. She painted using in a number of mediums and during the 1980's she painted china. For my 13th birthday, she painted a beautiful oval plate of two horses galloping in unison and this has always been a special treasure and reminder of her.

I had a wildly vivid imagination and spent my time predominantly in a dream world, and in particular I used to dream endlessly about horses. My favourite past time was building horse farms - the minature version! I used to lie in the grass on my tummy for hours on end with my collection: the small plastic ponies that arrived with the cereal packets during the 1970's. Cereal was rapidly consumed in our house so I could add to my collection with a new horse arriving home with the shopping!  I created tiny masking tape saddles, show jumps from twigs, and paddocks from scrounging my sisters' farming toys - and oh the stories I created. 

When I was 10, my parents finally relented and bought me a pony. With only a small budget available, they purchased a  14.2hh skewbald gelding called Flare, who took great delight in trying to scrape me off under low lying trees, bolt from an amble, was incredibly stubborn, and I would never dare to get too close to his hind quarters  - or his teeth for that matter! My love of horses wasn't diminished, although I never had a lot of confidence riding as result. Occasionally I was treated to riding at the local stables with a friend, and there I rode a little chestnut gelding called Eddick., and I realised that different horses could bring vastly different experiences!

My love of horses has always stayed with me...I adore their earthy, dusty smell, their strong presence and undoubtedly their majestic beauty...I never tire of this and it brings back the nostalgia of my childhood. Horses are some of the earth's most beautiful creatures, and the relationships with their owners are so worthy of breathtaking and emotive story-telling. 

I trust you'll enjoy the beauty of these stories...these magnificant animals, and the people they entwine their lives with.