Her photography is more than a shaggy bull story

Getting up close and personal with prizewinning bulls and sparky heifers is all in a day’s work for livestock photographer Catherine MacGregor.

When Scottish Field spoke to livestock photographer Catherine MacGregor, she had her hands full.

‘I’ve got a baby on one arm and three running about, so it’s very busy.’

With four children, aged five months to four years, Catherine knows all about busy. She set up MacGregor Photography in 1994, one of the UK’s leading livestock photographers.

‘We work for pedigree beef and sheep breeders, and breed societies throughout the UK. We design marketing material too,’ Catherine explains.

Despite growing up around animals on Allanfauld Farm at Kilsyth, Catherine didn’t set out to work with them. Having been interested in alternative therapies, aged just 20 she opened Kilsyth’s first beauty salon. Four years later, she sold the successful business to travel.

‘When I came back, I started taking photographs on the farm. There was a photographer called Dougie Low who used to photograph the Blackface sheep when I was a little girl going to the sales with my dad, I used to love watching him and I always thought, “I’d love to do that”.’

Photography and design courses followed. ’My mum always had a very good eye for photography, she was never without her camera as we were growing up, so my artistic side definitely comes from her.’

It helps that Catherine knows what to look for in a breed. ‘From a young age I was into stock judging in the Young Farmers,’ she laughs. ‘From that, you always know how the cattle should look, so you try and reflect that.’

Photographing unpredictable animals in all weathers may sound challenging, but Catherine relishes what she does. ‘I just love working outside, I love being outdoors and I love working with animals – they’re a lot easier than trying to take photographs of people.’

Find out more about MacGregor Photography at www.macgregorphotography.com

(This feature was originally published in 2016)