Laurel Mitchell is an avid landscape, wedding and equine photographer based out of Vancouver, Washington. With an artist’s eye for beauty and a horsewoman’s understanding of equine anatomy, Laurel also fell in love with equine and western graphite art. Laurel’s drawings are inspired by the unspoken bond between horses and the romanticized working partnership between horse and human. Over the last few years, her work has appeared in art, wedding and outdoor magazines and publication websites.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love horses. I was a horse-crazed girl who had walls covered with photos cut out of magazines of every breed of horse imaginable. I poured over equine anatomy books and articles on bloodlines of famous horses. My parents gave my first horse to me when I was ten. A paunchy little six-month-old filly of questionable breeding found at an auction house for fifty-five dollars. In my eyes, she was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen with an abundantly curly black mane and tail, blood bay, a star and beautiful markings on her feathered legs. I named her Curly Sue. She was the greatest teacher I’ve ever had, and the most challenging horse I’ve ever had. We were together for the rest of her life. She inspired my love of photography.
During my teenage years I rescued and trained horses in the Midwest. I learned natural horsemanship methods and put all my energy into rehabilitating over thirty abused or neglected horses and finding them forever homes. I worked plenty of odd jobs to pay for their feed and care. I worked in a honey factory, at vet clinics, manufacturing horse supplements and helping neighbors in their gardens. I was also fortunate enough to be invited by a horse trainer to work on a ranch near the Badlands of South Dakota rounding up and branding cattle. The cowboy lifestyle and remote western scenes are forever emblazoned in my heart from this season of my life.
Today, I have a beautiful little white Arabian mare named Cheyenne who graces the walls of my equine gallery. She came from a horse ranch in Wyoming as a yearling. She is a small horse at 13.3 hh, but she is strong, kind and sweet. I have only ever ridden her in a halter and lead rope and prefer to ride her bareback, even on the trails. We have been together for twenty years so far.
On Nature and Landscapes
I love nature. If I could live in a cabin high up in the mountains surrounded by nothing but nature I would be a very happy woman. I’ve always loved being in the outdoors and exploring, it’s not a great surprise that I became a landscape photographer.
I really began to get into landscape photography when I first met my now husband seven years ago. He too was just starting to get interested in landscape photography and it was a good excuse to go on a date. Our first date we crawled over huge fallen trees and waded waist deep upstream to photograph a hidden waterfall. That was the start of many grand adventures together.
Our honeymoon was three weeks of absolute bliss traveling and photographing among the National Forests and Parks in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. We have spent our wedding anniversaries photographing remote areas of the Southwest. We are fortunate enough to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest so we don’t have to travel far to photograph amazing scenery. Most weekends find us hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing or kayaking to photograph remote scenes accompanied by our little Aussie dog Lady. It is a lifestyle that I thrive on and I am so blessed to have married my best friend who enjoys it as much as I do, if not more.
On Marriage and Weddings
Marriage is the greatest adventure in life. I love photographing small, intimate weddings in natural outdoor settings. I photograph traditional backyard and ranch style weddings, but my favorite is the adventurous couple who also want wedding portraits in front of a waterfall, atop a snow covered mountain or on a remote beach.
I’m a big fan of spending time with my husband. We are both foodies and love discovering new favorite places to eat, craft beer and the quest for the perfect bloody mary. I love Jesus, my husband, photography (obviously), traveling, experiencing new cultures and serving others.
As a wife, I firmly believe in marriage and how amazing it can be, even through the challenges. As a photographer, I want to do my best to capture the love you share and all that it means to get married.
If you like these things too, there is a good chance that I would be a good fit to photograph your wedding. Send me a message and tell me about your upcoming wedding, I would leave to hear about you and your fiancé.
Thank you for visiting my site!
~Laurie (Laurel) Mitchell