How a photo of a neighbor’s bull turned into a career

Amanda King is a photographer specializing in portraits of bulls, bison and Angus sheep for her fine art business By the Horns. She lives on a 1100ha farm in Hororata, about an hour west of Christchurch, with her farmer husband Fraser, their children Greta, 8, Dudley, 6, 300 cows and 3600 sheep.

AMANDA KING: I was born in Brisbane but in 2003 moved to London for my OE. I met Fraser in Croatia when we were both on a sailing vacation.

We moved to New Zealand in 2006. We started in the Wairarapa where Fraser was a food bank manager, but after seven years we moved south so Fraser could join his family farm.

Amanda King at her home in Hororata, Canterbury, with her husband Fraser and children Greta and Dudley.

Amanda King

Amanda King at her home in Hororata, Canterbury, with her husband Fraser and children Greta and Dudley.

We initially lived on another farm property. It was built 5 years ago for the farm manager but when we took over the family farm 2 years ago we moved here as it is closer to the shearing sheds and cattle pens. It made sense to be closer to the action.

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I didn’t have to change much. The only things I have done so far is paint the walls of the children’s rooms and my office.

Fortunately, we don’t need to make any structural changes. I will change the curtains at some point.

The picture on the dining room wall is of Fergus, a neighbour's highland bull.  The dining table is from Urban + Beach.

Amanda King

The picture on the dining room wall is of Fergus, a neighbour’s highland bull. The dining table is from Urban + Beach.

I was a teacher but I started photographing in London. In 2017, I was looking for a print for our old farm, so I took a picture of a neighbor’s Highland bull, Fergus. I put it on a Facebook page and interest grew incredibly quickly. By 2018, By the Horns had become a full-time business.

It’s a picture of Fergus on the wall behind the dining table. Most of the animals I photograph are from our farm, but if I’m driving and see one that I like, I’ll ask the farmer if I can photograph it.

Peggy Sue the dog is a Pug crossed with a Griffon and is 14 years old.

Amanda King

Peggy Sue the dog is a Pug crossed with a Griffon and is 14 years old.

We bought the solid oak extending dining table in Auckland. He’s from a store called Urban + Beach and has moved into a few houses with us.

My framed prints are all over the house. The one in the main living room is from a nectarine tree I got from a friend’s orchard in Clyde. I am currently working on my first coffee table book which will be published in August.

Amanda King primarily photographs animals on her own farm, but also those she spots on her travels.

Amanda King

Amanda King primarily photographs animals on her own farm, but also those she spots on her travels.

I am almost never alone in my office. We adopted two feral kittens a few months ago, Humphry and Winnie. My elderly cat died last year, so these two fill the cat-shaped hole in our lives. They always sit on my desk and distract me.

We also have an older dog. Peggy Sue is a Pug crossed with a Griffon. She is 14 years old and is deaf and cannot see very well. She is also my constant companion.

Rescue kittens Humphry and Winnie move into Amanda King's bedroom.  The print above the bed is called Nightflowers.

Amanda King

Rescue kittens Humphry and Winnie move into Amanda King’s bedroom. The print above the bed is called Nightflowers.

The dahlias come from my garden. We had a huge garden in the previous farm but there was nothing here. Over the past couple of years I’ve had a vegetable garden and planted lots of flowers, which seems to be working.

We have lots of gum trees on the property so I’ll often cut a branch for indoors – the smell always reminds me of Australia.

The second show was

Amanda King

The second living room was “taken over by the kids,” says Amanda King.

I photograph a lot of flowers that I have grown. Like the peony print in the second living room – this room has been taken over by the kids now.

The canvas and leather side table was one of the first things I bought when I arrived in New Zealand. I found it at Country Life Interiors in Masterton.

The drinks trolley in the living room (right) is a tea trolley from Overflow Mayfield, a second store in Canterbury.

Amanda King

The drinks trolley in the living room (right) is a tea trolley from Overflow Mayfield, a second store in Canterbury.

The beach print in the main living area was taken at St Clair Beach in Dunedin. We had been there for the Eagles concert and went for brunch at St Clair the next day. I was told that it was unusual to see so many surfers there, so I had to photograph it.

I had been looking for a tea cart for a long time to use as a bar cart. I popped into Overflow Mayfield, a thrift store full of old school retro stuff about a half hour drive from us. I found this one for $20, and it works great for our booze.

The dahlias and gum tree branch come from Amanda King's garden – she says the smell of the tree reminds her of her home in Australia.  The beach is St Clair in Dunedin.

Amanda King

The dahlias and gum tree branch come from Amanda King’s garden – she says the smell of the tree reminds her of her home in Australia. The beach is St Clair in Dunedin.

The white jug filled with hydrangeas in my garden also came from there. I love this shop, I always find something cool there.

This is another one of my photos above our bed. It’s called Nightflowers and features flowers I grew in the previous house.

The family shares its 1100ha farm in Hororata with 300 cows and 3600 sheep.

Amanda King

The family shares its 1100ha farm in Hororata with 300 cows and 3600 sheep.

The side tables were a wedding gift from Fraser’s Nan, who lives in Toowoomba. She once lived on one of Australia’s largest cattle ranches in the Northern Territory. We received a lot of furniture from her.

I purchased the lamps from Val Briggs Interiors in Darfield. We really like the soft sage green walls here, so I won’t be repainting them anytime soon.

New Zealand is home now. We are very lucky to live where we live and to have the life we ​​have.

“We are very lucky to live where we live,” says Amanda King of her family's spacious home.

Amanda King

“We are very lucky to live where we live,” says Amanda King of her family’s spacious home.

See Amanda’s art at By The Horns.

Jack C. Nugent