Oh look, another creative outlet!

Hi! So I will start by saying, I have never been the type of person that I believed could maintain a blog. HOWEVER, it is January, I've taken a month off of photography to recharge, and I can already feel the manic energy building.

Speaking of manic energy... have you seen my new logo?

An intricate line work design created by HLJ Images outlining a camera and horse with ears pricked, encased in a circle.
Graphic designer Haley Johnson's new logo design outlining a camera and horse with ears pricked on a circle of teal.
An additional interpretation of Haley Johnson's logo for HLJ Images highlighting organic linework of a horse and camera.

I'm not gonna lie, I kind of woke up and chose chaos today.

In case you don't know me very well, I'm one of those "busy" people. I just can't seem to sit still. It's probably some undiagnosed neurodivergence, but I've always kind of embraced the manic need to DO and MAKE things as part of my personality. I've been like this my whole life, but I don't really mind the way I am... usually. Sometimes, it takes over, and I allow myself to make myself miserable, but usually I do appreciate my body and mind's constant need to kick itself into gear. Fortunately, today was one of those days where I was glad to have had a little bit of manic energy.

For a little history, I've been doing the artsy/photography/design-y thing since I could walk. I designed my dad's logo and mobile veterinary truck decals when I was thirteen. I've drawn my whole life, and really got into painting in high school and college. I've also carried a camera around with me for most of my life. First, a little Canon Powershot point and shoot, then a crop sensor Rebel t3i, various film cameras, and eventually my Canon 5diii and Canon 5div which I still use and adore. For the reasons mentioned above, when I decided to make myself a little website and social media channel outlet, I could NOT narrow down what to include in my logo... so I just kind of threw it all in there and tried to include it all. Sort of. Being the way I am, I designed it myself, but I have picked at it relentlessly over the years and never been quite satisfied. Originally, it looked like this:

HLJ Images old design logo featuring a paintbrush, camera, and computer screen illustrated behind my initials, HLJ.

The original purpose of my logo was to demonstrate the fact that I had no idea what to do with my life.

Well, not really. But kind of. Fresh out of college, I did not want to limit myself to just one creative endeavor such as painting or photography or web design, so I threw them all on there together and called it a day. I avoided being specific as much as possible because I didn't want to limit the possibilities for myself or convey that "I only do this" to potential clients. I didn't even include any equine references, because I figured not everyone would "get it" and would pass me by for someone with more wide-reaching skills and interests.

I've since come to realize that I was an idiot for doing this. I'm sorry, everyone!

At the heart of all of my creativity, everything I've always done has been about horses. Whether my goal was to convey their beauty, get closer to the animals I admired, or simply afford having one, it has always been about the horses. Realizing this, and realizing that most of the people I enjoy working with are the exact same way, completely shifted my perspective.


There's nothing wrong with sporting the "Horse Girl" badge loud and proud, because the people that I truly like are doing the same. If I want to find my people, I look for traces of horses in their lives. If I wanted to find a graphic designer or photographer for an equine brand, I would look for someone familiar with horses, right? Well that's who I am, and that's how I'd like to be found! So without further ado, I'm sporting my new Horse Girl Badge, loud and proud.

A cropped version of Haley Johnson's logo for HLJ Images highlighting organic linework of a horse and camera.

My new "Horse Girl" Photography Logo

It's been almost 5 years since I launched a facebook page to share my random artistic outbursts, and today felt like a really good day to update. I will most likely continue to share whatever artwork, web design, and graphic design projects I happen to be excited about on any given day, but I've really been reflecting on what direction I would like my life to go. I've dreamed of photographing horses since high school, although I will not lie and say that this was the only dream I've had. I've always been a bit erratic and unwilling to specialize (just ask my parents, my countless athletic coaches, my double minor, my multiple jobs, and my poor multidisciplinary pony). The one constant, however, has been horses.

American Morgan horse Keepsakes Stowaway, a liver chestnut gelding, greeting a friend with ears alert.

The teeny tiny ears that started this whole thing

My logo inspiration came from my horse; surprise, surprise! For those that don't know me: I'm a one heart-horse at a time type of gal. For the past five years and beyond, my favorite view and ultimate inspiration for starting this work has been my morgan pony, Gilligan, and his cute little ears, so I figured they deserved a place of honor on my website. I will write more about Gil another day, but just know that he is extremely special to me, extremely expensive, and completely worth having two jobs, haha.

**If you're a morgan lover interested in Gil's pedigree, you can find it here

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