This week I’m going to take a departure from my usual format of a video blog to talk about something very important as a photographer. As photographers we have a unique opportunity to follow our hearts and create beautiful art of the things we love. That may be people, or in many of our cases, pets.
When I first started my pet photography journey I was a student at the Art Institute. I remember getting ready for my final project in my portrait class, and I had an image I wasn’t sure if I could submit for credit or not. It was not a traditional image… it was a pet portrait (and my first).
I loved everything about it – the colors, the expression, and, yes, even the light. Granted I was very new to this, but I got the okay and submitted it. At the last class, everyone walked around and looked at all of the images. My pet portrait was the only image in the class that was not of a person.
I remember my instructor thinking it was funny I submitted that image, and then the head of the photography department walked in. He looked at all the images and stopped at this image, my image. He looked at it for a long time, and then he said, “People will really love this”. I knew right then and there that I had a future as a pet photographer, and this was before pet photography was a “thing”.
The image I submitted was of my furry brother, Agador, full name Agador Spartacus (see above). He was a feisty little thing with more personality than he knew what to do with, and if you’ve seen The Birdcage, you know who I’m talking about. I photographed him year after year after year when I needed models. Agador and his sister, Ruby, were two of my best models next to Miss Abby. They let me photograph them constantly to practice new techniques and improve. The image below was one of my first tries with off camera flash.
We lost Agador yesterday morning, and this never gets easier. I feel like I just attended a doggie funeral last week with Abby even though it’s been a couple of months. As pet lovers, pet family members, and as photographers this is something not to be taken lightly. It’s important to find your inspiration and work to be your very best. But, it’s also important to secure these memories before they’re gone. Our furry family are not with us nearly as long as they should be, and it is our job as pet photographers to memorialize them in the beautiful images we create.
I can’t imagine anyone feeling as low as I did when we lost Abby, and then again today when we lost Agador, and not have any images to remember them by. We will miss you little guy. I know Abby was waiting for you across the Rainbow Bridge. Have fun together and enjoy getting that spring back in your step!