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Artist Bio

 

Heather Swan studied Fine Art Studio at Dawson College in Montreal. In 1988, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, with Honours, in Photography, from the University of Ottawa. Heather studied photography with Professor Michael Schreier, the history of photography with Professor Penny Cousineau, printmaking with Evergon, and art history with theoretician Thierry de Duve. Upon graduation, she followed a path that lead to desktop publishing, page layout and graphic design. She freelanced at several high tech firms in the Ottawa region and worked for an advertising agency, but her heart was always in photography. 

As a member of the Equine Photographers Network (EPNet), Heather studies under some of the world’s most outstanding equine photographers and continue to receive ongoing education to refine her skills through online courses and workshops, from the Basics of Equine Photography, to the Art of the Equine-Human Portrait, and Creating & Marketing Fine Art Photography.

“The Great American Horse Drive in Colorado with Carien Schippers and Scott Trees was truly my favourite workshop experience to date it was an incredible opportunity for me to experience the West, real deal wranglers, lots of horses and dust. Take a moment to visit the Spirit of the West Collection

Heather travelled to New Mexico and to the Pryor Mountains (twice) to photograph Wild Horses and attended a Wild Horses of the Outer Banks Workshop with acclaimed wild life photographer, Jared Lloyd, in North Carolina. Her second trip to the Pryor Mountains and Yellowstone National Park was with National Geographic photographer, Jeff Vanuga. 

In Iceland, Heather photographed the beautiful landscapes and Icelandic horses and in Southern France, the Camargue Horses. Heather feels blessed to have these incredible opportunities to work on her photography skills, and expand her portfolio. Be Inspired By Iceland! Take a virtual trip to Southern France to see the Camargue horses in the wetlands  Camargue Collection.

Born on the South Shore of Montreal in Chateauguay, Quebec, Heather now resides with her husband and son in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Her household includes three horses, three ponies, and a dog. She has a room set aside for refining and editing her images, and many of her beautiful photos displayed in her home.

"My Mother was a painter: she mainly used acrylics and later in life switched to watercolour. She studied under Eric Wesslow for several years, attending night classes, participated in group exhibits. I grew up surrounded by art.

When I was in high school, the courses that I attended were tailored for woman to go into home economics, hairstyling, child care, or art. I choose art. I really enjoyed art and my mother would buy me art supplies. When I was young, I remember waking up very early one Christmas, my parents let us open one gift under the tree and told us to get back to bed for a few hours as it was too early. My little sister opened up a Koala teddy bear, and I opened up a roll of newsprint!! I was so excited.

I always excelled at art throughout high school, so I decided to continue my interest at the college level by attending the Fine Art Studio program at Dawson College in Montreal. I was exposed to Printmaking, painting, Sculpture, and photography. Three years later that lead to applying to the University of Ottawa Fine Arts Program, where I studied Fine Art Photography for four years. My mother’s artistic side and my father’s entrepreneurial spirit came together and influenced my choice of art as a life career. I love the great old masters of art: Monet, Rembrandt, and William Turner. I love the old fox hunting artwork of Heywood Hardy. My first equine photography mentor was Carien Schipper, the founder of the Equine Photographer Network, I feel that I learned the basics to photographing horses from her.  I love London-based photographer, Tim Flach’s work, Equus.  My favorite equestrian portraiture artist is Minnesota-based photographer, Shelley Paulson. 

I choose equine photography because I saw the beauty and grace of the equine form, and the majestic strength and resilience of the wild horses. Horses are part of my life, I photograph people with their horses in beautiful settings. I have a talent for taking relaxed portraits that capture the connection between horse and rider—their relationship. I provide clients with images that they will treasure for a lifetime. 

My mission is to create art and share it with people that like what I do. I create original fine art images inspired by my love of horses.”

Heather is a member of the Equine Photographers Network, The Ottawa Valley Hunt, and the Ontario Equestrian Federation,

Heather’s work wins numerous awards and she is recognized for her work worldwide. Most recently, she received three Honorable Mentions in the Prix de la photographie Paris (PX3) “White” Competition with her entries titled, White Horse Sea Horses; and White Stallions. Heather was also a winner at the 8th Annual International Color Awards in several categories, including: Honorable Mention in Americana | Hard Working Man, Nominee in Americana | Farm Dog, Nominee in Architecture | Lutheran Church Overlooking Village of Vik, Nominee in Wildlife | Icelandic Mare and Foal.  Over 7,350 entries were received from 79 countries, and her work received a high percentage of votes overall. 

Heather’s first International Art Exhibit piece, Majestic Stallions II, was part of the electronic display, at the Art Takes Miami Exhibit. 

Heather was honoured to be included as part of the Fifth Annual Exposure Award, viewed by over five million photo enthusiasts from around the world. Photographers representing over 191 different countries displayed together at the most esteemed museum in the world-the Louvre Museum in Paris in July 2015 with See | Me. Her piece Majestic Stallions II was part of the Animal collection.

When not perfecting her photographic techniques, Heather can be found gardening, attending foxhunts with the Ottawa Valley Hunt, and spending time with her family.

As a professional photographer in the Ottawa region, a large part of Heather’s work consists of portraits, mainly horse and human portraits. She also does some commercial work with an ad agency in Montreal and Toronto, and fits in time to share her passion for her work with others.

Liberty Shots specializes in Equestrian Photography. Heather’s new venture, Horses at Liberty, showcases her fine art photographs of horses at liberty.

My images have a painterly feel, almost dream-like, and, that, to me, feel timeless. My ultimate goal is to create images that give the viewer the sensation of being there and experiencing first-hand the majestic quality, grace, and beauty of that moment.

I love photographing horses at liberty. There is something about watching the movement of the horse through the viewfinder, something about the horse without restraint: the power, the grace, the beauty of the majestic horse.

I wish you all a wonderful, art-filled visit Your ongoing support and feedback contribute enormously to my growth and look forward to sharing my collections with you!”

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