Evelyn Szczepanek is one of my newest friends. She’s a great photographer, full of life. She loves horses and her daughter, her favorite subject for photos.
Sue: Where did we meet?
Evelyn: The first time I met you was at Sebastian’s open gallery at Say Cheese August 2015 through my boss Emily Miller. That is actually when I met most of the gang who was part of creating The Perfect You.
Sue: Yeah, I sort of remember that. Who else was there?
Evelyn: Camellia, Sebastian’s cousin Steven, and his friend from NYC; Lauren (the other photographer) Kathy, she did a lot of wardrobe stuff for A Perfect You. I also think Andrew and Rachel where there too but not 100% sure.
Sue: How did you learn photography?
Evelyn: Well in high school I absorbed myself into all types of art. I always loved being creative and producing different pieces. My senior year of high school my dad bought me my first DSLR camera for my birthday and I started to play around with it and he taught me a few things since he was a hobbyist photographer back before I was born. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter about 3 years later I started to get a little more serious about it and started researching different techniques. When my mother passed away a year and a half after my daughter was born I went out and bought all new equipment and planned to make my photography a business. Now two years later I am still learning the ropes of having a business and still teaching myself how to do new and creative techniques. Photography can be so diverse that there is always something new to learn or try so it should never get old.
Sue: Are you making your living with photography nowadays?
Evelyn: Not right now. It’s a more of a side thing. I am hoping in the near future I can make photography full time. I really love doing it and getting to photograph unique and new locations.
Sue: I love the work you put on facebook. The horses and your daughter. The outside pictures are breathtaking sometimes. I’m sorry, you’re just too good to be commercial. Anyway, I hope you can get involved with the upcoming webseries Andre and I are putting together. We can always use a good portrait painter. Have you worked on sets often?
Evelyn: I would love to work with you and Andre! The only set stuff I have done was for A Perfect You and I had a blast being apart of the amazing crew that produced it!
Sue: That’s cool, Evelyn. I’ll let you know when we’re shooting and you can bring yourself and your camera on over. Tell me about your horse(s).
Evelyn: Ahh my horses…well one horse now! To start off I have been obsessed with horses since I was little. Growing up I took a handful of lessons but was never consistent. My mom loved horses and she is the one who originally started me riding. When I was in high school my gym teacher had a farm so I started working in exchange to ride her one horse Drifter. He was amazing and forever one of my favorite horses. When I went to college I took the opportunity to be on the equestrian team, rode, and competed. I was the first one from PSU Berks to make it to zones and the only one in my region to place top ten my junior year. My junior year I also got my first horse Lincoln. He was a huge 17.2 hands (4 inches = one hand) OTTB. Very sweet but difficult to ride. After a year having him I convinced my mom to get a horse and she rescued Flo. After a month of adopting Flo my mom was sadly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. During her treatment, I took care of my mom’s horse and mine. It was difficult but I didn’t want to see my mom lose something she had always wanted her whole life. Sadly my mom lost her battle a little more than a year after getting Flo. I had promised her I would always take care of Flo. After my mom passed away I purchased my first show horse, Strudel, with the plan of only having him for 6 months. I ended up keeping him for almost 2 years. I had a blast showing the summer of 2014 and 2015 and he taught me so much. I recently sold him and I’m bummed but I’m not planning on showing anytime soon since I had a few major injures so it’s better for him to be somewhere he is being used and not just sitting around. My first horse Lincoln got very sick during the winter of 2015 so I had to put him down. That was devastating. Now I only have Flo. She will forever have a home no matter how difficult she is. She is this gorgeous OTTB, very fancy but very temperamental to ride. I do see myself getting a pony sometime in the near future for my daughter since she is horse obsessed and always wants to ride.
Sue: What is “zones” and “OTTB?”
Evelyn: So you in horse showing you have teams or barns, regions and then zones. Teams are normally associated with collegiate or high school teams. Barns are normally the name of the farm or trainer that has its boarders show. Regions are the surrounding local areas and a zone consists of multiple regions and states. OTTB means off the track thoroughbred
Sue: So making it to “zones” is really good! Congratulations.
Evelyn: Thank you, it was one of my highlights of my college years riding on the equestrian team!
Sue: And an OTTB sounds dangerous.
Evelyn: Yes it is!! In Flo’s case she was about 6 months off the track and she was a nut case. You couldn’t lead her without her running you over. Picking her feet was almost impossible since she would try to lay down. She is very stubborn and pushy. But she does have a kind heart about her when things get tricky. We have been in some scary situations and she has always made sure I was okay. She’s an odd one. Lots of OTTBs come off and are difficult but not all stay difficult after some training. Just like people you have strong willed people and very mellow people. It’s the same with horses. I just ended up with a very strong willed horse.
Sue: Good luck with Flo and everything else. It was great having you. I look forward to having you on set in the future.