You know you have done it. Whether it was while cooling your horse out, strolling around the showgrounds or simply during a leisurely trail-ride, you have slipped out your cellphone, aimed right between alert and forward turned ears, and taken that oddly satisfying shot. Kristine Dahms discovered she wasn’t alone in this habit when she started posting her personal between the ear pictures on her Facebook account. Friends began posting their own similar pictures on her page, and she soon started noticing ear pictures from all over. Kristine decided to create a dedicated account for these pictures in 2011, appropriately calling it “Life Between The Ears” and using the same hashtag. Suddenly, she had a movement on her hands as people from all over the world started uploading with their own #lifebetweentheears images. Today, her Instagram following is near 36,000 and she has successfully combined her graphic design background with Life Between The Ears (LBTE), creating a line of paper goods, gifts and accessories featuring the most popular images captured between the ears. Kristine lives with her husband on Maury Island in the state of Washington. Together they live on a small farm with two horses, two goats, two dogs, two cats, and one chicken.
HG: Do you recall the first image you posted with the hashtag that started it all?
KD: Not specifically, but I’m sure it was from one of my hacks out in our local woods, or neighborhood, as we’d frequently stop by and say hello to our neighbors and get a carrot or apple.
HG: Today, how many of the images posted are your own and what percentage are from your world-wide fans?
KD: I started by posting only my own photos, and still occasionally post my own here or there if they’re good enough. Now 99% of the photos on LBTE feature other people’s photos from around the world. That’s the fun part—seeing photos from every corner of the world.
HG: What is your favorite LBTE shot you have personally taken? Why?
KD: My favorite personal photo is one on my Welsh cob, Wyn, taken at Maury Island Natural Area, overlooking Puget Sound in the fall. The light is spectacular that time of year and the clouds dance over the water. I’m lucky to live across the road from a 235 acre public park. I was part of a group called Preserve Our Islands that fought for over 10 years to save this piece of land and shoreline from an international mining operation. Truly a David vs. Goliath fight and we were fortunate to have the perfect storm, and win. Amazing group of people. Epic story. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful I get to live and ride here. To read more about this story click HERE.
HG: What is the most surprising location you have received an image from?
KD: So many are surprising, but a few of the most unexpected shots I’ve received were from: The Faroe Islands (featured in my latest collection of cards, No. 3), in the middle of the street in Monaco for the Longines Global Champions Tour; one of Ben Atkinson’s horses in a full suit of armor, working on the television set of “Victoria”; and more recently, one from New York City in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
HG: What is the key to making a great LBTE shot? Can you give me some pointers so that maybe one day Chloe’s ears can be featured? 🙂
KD: Funny you should ask because I’ve written a blog post for Equitrekking about that a few years ago. To summarize: 1. Take a million shots in order to get one good one; 2. Use treats to help train your horse to be patient; 3. The closer to your subject the better; 4. Morning or evening light is the best; and 5. Don’t be afraid to use editing tools.
HG: Why do you think people are so moved to take these pictures? I don’t think there is an equestrian alive who has not done so.
KD: I can’t speak for anybody else, but I like being able to share the beautiful place that I am fortunate enough to call my home. I’m a graphic designer and my husband is a commercial photographer, so we love photos, needless to say. I think we all enter our own little world of escapism when we ride, and people want to remember and share that feeling.
HG: If you could get any shot from a famous set of ears, whose ears would they be?
KD: A tough question, but I’d love to receive a photo from a performance or even practice ride at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, chandelier and all. That would be fabulous.
HG: What do you hope to do next with LBTE?
KD: I have tons of ideas in the works for LBTE projects, but it’s still my side gig. My graphic design business, Twist Design, is my main focus that pays the bills, but I keep carving out as much time as I can for LBTE. It’s truly a labor of love. I also plan to be a bit more active with the sister page, Life Between The Rears, which features photos from carriage, driving, and sleigh views.
Thanks again to Kristine for chatting. I look forward to practicing my ear shots so that maybe one day Chloe can be featured! Anyone that joins LBTE mailing list will receive
a free LBTE card. Click here!