These are a few of my favorite moments from recent sessions. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more stories of each of these sessions. I felt I didn’t want to move on until I fully honored, with undoubtedly insufficient words and prose, the love that’s captured in these photos. I hope you enjoy these moving, fun and often hilarious pieces.
Over the past few months I’ve learned to keep a box of tissues close while I talked with dog parents about their fur babies. Listen, I know some of you are cringing at terms like “dog parent” and “fur baby”, but the sentimentality for the care takers of these mutts runs so much deeper than any silly terms we may try to ascribe to it. We grapple to adequately express what these beasts mean to us, but we fall short. The truth is there are no words that do it justice, but that’s part of the point. They don’t need words to show us every ounce of their tremendous love. Why would we be so naive to think we’d find enough words to express how that unconditional love makes us feel?
That’s why I threw myself into this adventure of capturing the relationship between these humans and their canines. It’s the most exquisite and important part of pet photography. Yet, I find the market remains saturated with pet portraits of pups all stoically poised and perfectly composed on a white or black backdrop. I often think, “That’s a beautiful picture, but it tells me nothing about the dog’s unique personality. Nor does it capture the love of their family.”
Family lifestyle photography has grown in well deserved popularity. We should be asking what makes a family tick and setting ourselves to capturing their intrinsic essence. It’s no different with our pets. The beauty of the pet is in context with the adoration the dog and his human hold for one another. That adoration is displayed uniquely and should be honored in a unique photo experience.
So, I have my tissues handy as I chat with pet parents about the dog that got them through the divorce or greeted them with he same unconditional love no matter how shitty they felt or their day was. Or the mutts that came along in their darkest hour or simply bookended an era of their lives (as David Sedaris so eloquently said) with warmth and goodness.
It’s true. They won’t be with us forever and there will be others that will take their physical place, but there was only one of that dog. You know, your dog, during that time. The one that knew you like you were then and loved you no matter who that person was. The one who kept all your secrets and whose fur soaked up your tears. The one who you never felt stupid wrestling or singing or dancing with. The one that you loved in that very specific way. The one that gave you that gift that you needed everyday to get you through. That dog only lives once and there is no replacing that emotional space. All the more reason to capture that finite moment and anchor it in your heart and home.