People of the Horse

Supported by National Geographic Magazine

Curated by Sarah Leen

Featuring Erika Larsen

I travelled to many locations in the western United States to learn about the significance of the horse in Native American culture. The arrival of horse transformed the culture. They allowed tribes to hunt more buffalo than ever before. They tipped the balance of power in favor of mounted warriors and they became prized as wealth. For Native Americans today, horses endure as an emblem of tradition and a source of pride, pageantry, and healing.

Erika Larsen uses photography, video and writing to learn
 intimately about people and cultures that maintain strong connections with nature.
She has been working as a fine art and documentary photographer since 2000 and is a member of Redux Pictures.


Sarah Leen is the Director of Photography for the National Geographic Society. For nearly 20 years prior she worked as a freelance photographer publishing 16 stories in the magazine until she joined the staff as a Senior Photo Editor in 2004.

In 2010 Leen was the curator of the National Geographic’s exhibit Water is Life at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, in 2011 she curated Beyond the Photograph at the National Geographic Society headquarters in 2011 and in 2013 curated The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years at the Annenberg Space.

Leen graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 1974 from the University of Missouri, Columbia and continued with graduate studies at the Missouri School of Journalism. Leen was the College Photography of the Year in 1979 and worked as a staff photographer for both the Topeka Capital Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer until 1982. She published 16 stories in the National Geographic magazine as a photographer.

Leen has won numerous awards for her photography in the Pictures of the Year (POYi) and the World Press Photos competition. In 2007 and 2008 she won first place Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio from POYi and second place in 2011.


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