Q&A with Equine Photographer Linda Heidema

Linda’s stunning and simple images of horses have been gracing Instagram for a long time — we caught up with the Holland native to learn more about her process.

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I first came across Linda’s Instagram account @lindalaughs while reading an Instagram blog post about her account, and decided to follow her right away. In a form of social media constantly choked with hashtags, inundated requests to trade “follow for follow” or “like for like” and overwhelmed with users trying to reach their follower goals of 10,000 or more, @lindalaughs was a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t hashtag. She doesn’t ask for followers. She simply enjoys taking pictures and sharing them with the world.

And what pictures: Linda’s native Gronigen, Holland looks like a foggy wonderland of horses and cattle and sheep and tree-lined lanes, serene and quiet. And that’s what Linda’s looking for in photography: she’s a youth justice worker AND a mother of young twins, and has realized that she needs to enjoy these peaceful moments whenever she can get them. She pairs her beautiful images with short stories from her daily life, gracefully juxtaposing the chaos of motherhood with a philosophical-looking horse muzzle. These pairings transform a “normal” moment into something of great significance, and apply a lesson or truth to what was before just a lovely photograph.

Linda was kind enough to answer my questions via email from the other side of the world:

K: How much time and thought do you put into pairing a story with a photo–or do you let the metaphor speak for itself?

L: Mostly I post in the evening when the kids are asleep. That’s a moment for me to reflect and think of what that day brought me. And if there is a picture lined up that suits what I have in mind, I will post it. And then sometimes it’s the other way around: if I have a good-enough-to-post image, I will look at it and get inspired. It could have been something that happened recently, or just some random thoughts that pop up. And sometimes I am so beat and tired that the only thing I can say is ” goodnight beautiful people”!

Dear diary :The dentist can afford this years vacation; i went with the kids. 4 check-ups: We scored a Total of 6 wobbly teeth and one “gaatje”! Kids were way too excited that they went there and kind of terrorised the place. The assistent was patient, the secretary , could not have looked more angry. The dentist is as always calm and understanding, even when my kids explored the turning stool and loads of buttons and equipment. Fot their good behaviour , i took them to the toy shop. Thats where i somehow wished someone would knock me down. I saw them think ” look at that Mother , she has no control over her kids”! No i don’t, and they had a great time. Nothing broke and nothing got stolen. Hurray! About 3 more weeks before their dad returns. That makes 4 weeks of solo parenting! Dear diary, tell me to stop jibber Jabber any time!   A photo posted by Linda (@lindalaughs) on

K: What drew you to photograph horses? Are you a horsewoman in your spare time?

L: I used to ride and I loved riding and being around horses. They don’t judge anyone, and are sensitive. They interact and react without words. I love that! In my own job I need to talk and talk and talk, as well as in my personal life. In my own time, I love the silence. I am an observer by nature and the way horses are curious and seek attention or in a group trying to position themselves is a treat to watch! None of the horses are mine so I don’t know them, and have to be cautious when I appraoch. If the owner is around I will ask for permission. And I will email them a shot I made as a thank you.

K: Your photos are beautiful glimpses of horses! Are you a professional photographer?

L: When I started an Instagram account I did only iPhone shots. When I got inspired I bought myself a camera. I had to learn a lot about photography and the camera before getting a relatively decent shot. And I am still eager to learn, so I practise on eyes and whiskers, action shots and so on. That’s why at the moment you get to see a lot of those [via Instagram.]

Thanks to the above-mentioned Instagram blog article about her photography (as well as her account’s stand-alone beauty) Linda now has over 58,000 followers. She’s constantly receiving requests from fans and followers for “shout outs” or “follow for follow,” an Instagram trend where a popular account will tell its fans to go check out and follow another user. In a world of social media where numbers seem to be replacing actual relationships, I was curious how Linda felt about these trends.

K: How do you feel about the number of followers you have on your Instagram? I’m curious on your take of the trend in people trying to rack up followers and “likes” and shout outs, just to say they have them.

L: In today’s society, numbers seem to count to the majority of people. I think that only engaging, enjoying photography, the inspiration, the sharing, the community will give you true satisfaction. A compliment means a whole lot more to me than the amount of followers. There are accounts who have many followers and no “likes”! It’s like a huge store without customers or a diner without guests. It’s empty. But if you have a hundred followers and the majority like what you post and interacts with you, that’s what matters in my humble opinion. I don’t do shout outs — I don’t like the sound of it, or the intention to gain random followers. With my work and my personal life I found out that it’s impossible for me to respond to all comments. I follow people who are either family, friends or inspire me with their personalities and photography! If I were to follow thousands, I would not be able to keep up.

New week; new opportunities! Happy monday beautiful people!   A photo posted by Linda (@lindalaughs) on

In the end, Linda’s images speak for themselves, letting us all step back and admire the horse’s natural beauty and peace–and that’s all that Linda really wants, to share a glimpse into her world.

Go riding!


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