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DOGS ON FILM: A Blog

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Last Dog Photography Sessions of The Year!

I know it's only the end of August, but that means the end of Summer, and that means Fall is around the corner, and then all of a sudden it's Thanksgiving and then it's December and before you know it 2016 is over. For my calendar, at least, things move that fast. So for any of you who have been thinking about scheduling a Fine Art Dog Photography Session with me- whether you've been pondering it for the past two years, or just the past few months- NOW is your chance to book the very last dog photography sessions of the year.

Here is my last availability of 2016:

BOSTON: open scheduling September through December 15. 
NEW YORK: September 9, 10, 11 (full) + November 4, 5, 6
SAN FRANCISCO: October 6, 7, 8
LOS ANGELES: October 9, 10 (full)
BOSTON: open scheduling September through December 15. 

The first is always a quick and easy Creative Call so we can get to know each other, and talk about your dog and my process. You can book that by clicking the button below. It's free, and truly commitment-free. 

 

2017 dog photography sessions will start in February. Keep an eye on my Travel Page or social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to keep up with those dates once they are posted. 

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How Did You Become a Dog Photographer?

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How Did You Become a Dog Photographer?

"So, how did you become a dog photographer?"

I get asked this all the time. Sometimes daily. Certainly at every networking event I go to, dinner party, and even client Creative Meeting. Even though it’s a story I’ve told literally hundreds and hundreds of times, it’s a tall tale that I always enjoy recounting.

Here’s how it typically starts out. I’m enjoying myself with new acquaintances at a business meet-up for local entrepreneurs, or maybe having dinner and meeting a few new faces, and the question inevitably comes up: "So, what do you do?" "I’m a photographer." And most of the time people will say "Oh, so you photograph weddings and stuff?" And I say "Oh no no, not weddings! I’d go crazy! I study the human-animal bond. I photograph dogs- mostly private commissions, some editorial projects, from coast to coast." And then….. of course "A dog photographer? Really? But what do you really do? It’s not your full time job is it?" When I assure them that, yes, it is my full time job and, yes, I’m pretty good at it, the next question is always "How did you become a dog photographer!?" So, here’s how I became one of the most well-known dog photographers in the country.

I had recently moved to San Francisco from the East Coast at the ripe old age of 23, and was enjoying a life of low-responsibility and tons of fun in my new city. I needed a job, of course, and a friend of a friend worked at a dog daycare in San Francisco. They lied and told the boss that I had experience with dogs – at that time, I was actually a bit afraid of dogs after a dog-bite when I was younger, and had no clue whatsoever about dog behavior. I was completely clueless. But I applied to work at the dog daycare, and lied about having dog experience (sorry karma- I know lying is bad). I got the job somehow, and on the first day of work I got thrown into the big dog play group. Pretending to be cool, I walked into the large play yard and in seconds was surrounded by hundreds of big barking dogs (in reality, it was probably more like 30 dogs, but who’s counting?).

I’ll admit— I was scared. I froze up, and didn’t know what to do. I thought- this was a real mistake. I don’t know anything about dogs! And all these big dogs are barking at me and what am I going to do? All of a sudden a big, beautiful brown pitbull named Lennox calmly approached me, parting the sea of loud, curious dogs. He walked right up to me so quietly, and looked right into my eyes. I looked at Lennox, and he looked at me, and he could tell I needed help. So he turned and walked away, leading the barking pack of dogs to the other corner of the play yard, quieting them down. There was a lull, and Lennox turned and looked back at me to say ‘You’re safe here. You’re one of us now.’ And from that very moment, I was hooked. I was so taken by the power that exists within that dog/human space that I have been working with dogs every day since. And that’s about ten years. It’s a true story.

 A few months later I starting taking a couple classes at City College in San Francisco on lighting and darkroom printing, just to advance my skills. Soon after, I weaseled my way into a coveted position as apprentice at the city’s only fine art family photography studio and every moment that I was not working at the dog daycare facility, I was either taking a photography class or apprenticing at the studio. Part time apprenticing turned into full time apprenticing, which — just one year later— turned into an offer to become an official associate of the photography studio.

Just a few months into my apprenticeship one of my mentors suggested I try photographing dogs, since I did not have much interest (or skill) in photographing families. I thought photographing dogs was such a silly idea, because the only dog photography I’d seen up to that point was cheesy and poorly done. But with his encouragement I took my Hasselblad and a few rolls of black and white film (my tools of choice then, and still today) and photographed a friend’s Pug, Gus. It was one of the best shoots I’ve ever done, and a print of Gus still hangs in my studio today. After that, I jumped in with both feet, with the one simple goal of recreating the look of contemporary dog photography, of turning it into fine art. With my strong fine art portrait background and love for the dog-human bond, becoming a full time fine art dog photographer was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

A photo of Gus- the very first dog I ever photographed. 

A photo of Gus- the very first dog I ever photographed. 

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SOWA Arts Market in South Boston

I've decided to bring my mobile fine art dog photography gallery to South Boston's famous SOWA Open Market. It's an extremely well curated collection of local Boston-area artisans, makers, and a few excellent food trucks just to keep the guests (and vendors) going. I did my first Sunday SOWA Open Market a few weekends ago and I literally had a blast. 

As always, I use my vendor space as a simple and inviting pop-up gallery. Guests stroll in to take a look at the framed work on the walls, flip through my portfolios, and chit chat with my assistant and I. We always end up talking about their dogs, and hearing so many beautiful stories about that deeply moving human-animal bond. Everyone walks away with some information about scheduling a private Boston dog photography session with me in Boston (or San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York) and those important new connections become fans of the studio, supporters, and of course new dog photography clients as well. 

And here's a great feature the organizers did on their blog recently about my Boston dog photography: http://www.sowaboston.com/sowa-news/2016/4/15/sowa-vendor-spotlight-jesse-freidin

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A Poodle in San Francisco

Dog Photographer San Francisco

Dog Photographer San Francisco

This San Francisco dog photography session was a gift that a favorite old dog photography client of mine gave to one of their friends. There's nothing I love more than a great client referral, and I had so much fun working with this group of dogs: one gorgeous and sweet standard Poodle, and a tiny Chihuahua/Terrier mix who clearly ran the house. I took advantage of the beautiful dappled light and bright open shade in the back yard to create warm, comfortable and intimate dog portraits and really love the moments and connection that I got to witness during this session. Here are a few of my favorite dog photos from this San Francisco session:

Jesse Freidin Photographer

Jesse Freidin Photographer

San Francisco Pet Photographer

San Francisco Pet Photographer

Dog Photography San Francisco

Dog Photography San Francisco

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A Chihuahua In New York

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A Chihuahua In New York

New York Dog Photography

New York Dog Photography

This is Charlie, the 16 year old Chihuahua/Boston Terrier mix that lives in New York. I photographed him in New York a few weeks ago along with his wonderful, loving family. This is such an important moment in this senior dog's life, and his family was smart to schedule a New York dog photography session now because, though Charlie can still get around and chase squirrels as well as the next dog, he is a senior dog and his health is failing. 

 

Pet Photographer in New York

Pet Photographer in New York

Charlie, like so many other older dogs, was the first 'child' in the family. He was an 'only child' for many, many years but now lives with a great 10 year old brother who loves him and tries his best to gently respect Charlie's senior dog lifestyle. Photographing this dog and his entire family in New York was such a special project, and I can't wait to help this client curate a beautiful collection of black and white dog portraits for their home. 

New York Dog Photographer

New York Dog Photographer

New York Pet Photographer

New York Pet Photographer

Photographing senior dogs is always a truly moving and inspiring project- for me, as well as for my dog photography clients. Don't wait until it's too late. We've only got a finite amount of time with our animals companions, and every day counts. 

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Boston Dog Photography Session with 3 Handsome Siblings

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

These three siblings were so sweet and fun to work with during a recent Boston dog photography session. All rescues, the two small Terrier mixes came first as a bonded pair. Then a few years later Blue- the Pit Bull/Lab/Hound etc mix joined the family. Now they all get along wonderfully and play and snooze in the sun like loving siblings. 

This Boston Dog Photography session was so much fun, and the beautiful shady back yard gave me lots of perfect dappled light to play with. Here are a few more favorite dog portraits from this session- enjoy!

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

Boston Dog Photography

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Chrissy Field Dog Photography Session in San Francisco

I love when I have the opportunity to work with San Francisco dog photography clients more than once. Thankfully, it happens pretty often and it makes me have so much respect for the relationships we build together, and really brings such value to the time my dog photography clients and I take getting to know each other. 

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

During my most recent San Francisco Fine Art Dog Photography Sessions I met an old client of mine at Chrissy Field— sadly, their two original dogs (whom I had photographed a few years back) both passed away. Because they are such eternal dog-lovers, they quickly adopted two new dogs from local San Francisco dog rescues and commissioned me to create a new series of dog portraits of their new family at the beach. 

Photographing dogs at the beach is no easy task, and I don't take it lightly. The weather has to be perfect (a hearty cloud covering is best), the time of day has to be perfect (not too many other dogs or people on the beach), the temperature has to be palatable (it's no fun photographing people in coats), and the dogs have to be able to focus on me (not the million other distracting things happening around them). But if the planets align and all goes as planned, a San Francisco dog photography session at Chrissy Field or Fort Funston or Ocean Beach can be truly spectacular. Though I'll admit— from the outside it looks like I'm wrangling everything in the most chaotic way during a beach session. But I love that chaos, it keeps me on my toes and allows for a dynamic energy that fuels the session with creativity that I can't always find during a dog photography session at home. 

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

Here are a few favorite images from this great Chrissy Field session, with two great dogs. My clients of course wanted to get some of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, which is certainly understandable. On a slightly cool and foggy day, the view of the bridge from Chrissy Field is so beautiful. 

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

San Francisco Dog Photography at Chrissy Field

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Dog Photography Feature on Mrs. Sizzle

When I started photographing dogs many years ago (has it been nearly ten years already....), I started searching for like-minded artists and animal activists and began building my community. It was easy to find friends and colleagues in the dog world that shared my theories on the dog/human bond and who were also passionate about understanding and loving and living with canines. The hard part was finding people in the art world who understood what was truly beautiful about visually documenting the dog/human bond in our contemporary art world. People who respected and revered what dogs brought to an artist's perspective and work, and who were bringing the conversation about dog art forward. 

What I found when I started out was a vast, nearly uncrossable space between the world of fine art photography and the world of dogs. Of course there were some incredible heavy-hitter artists that were working in this space- Elliot Erwitt, William Wegman, and Tim Flach to name my favorites— though these guys were doing commercial work or private series and not working with private clients.  There weren't a lot of contemporary artists who you could hire for a private commission that approached the subject from a fine art perspective. And even less were the number of people who were talking about dog art in the same way. As artists, we need curators and collectors and critics to create a conversation about work that is being made, or work that has been made, and connect us all. 

Thankfully I did end up meeting a great artist and dog lover who ran a blog called DOG ART TODAY. It was a weekly round up of contemporary dog art combined with dog art history lessons. I became friends with the woman who wrote and curated that blog, and we built a great relationship and collaborated so many times over the years. Her site was the only source or real art criticism about this niche dog art world, and I loved it! Sadly, DOG ART TODAY paused publication in 2015, though hopefully it will begin again. I strongly suggest checking out the site by clicking here: http://dreamdogsart.typepad.com

And now there's a new blog in town, and it's really great. It's called Mrs. Sizzle, curated and written by Suzanne Donaldson. An experienced art buyer and critic- the site pulls together the best contemporary dog art, artists and exhibits happening around New York and across the country. It's a great site with a strong message about adoption and rescue causes. I'm honored to have a feature up there right now, which you can see here

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New York Dog Photography Sessions this Summer!

Summer in New York is such a beautiful time- the flowers have bloomed, the breeze is warm, and everyone is outside enjoying the sunshine with their New York dogs. I always look forward to photographing dogs in New York at Central Park, or Riverside Park, or Union Square, or Thompkins Square Park. All the parks, I guess. Putting a dog on a New York park bench underneath the bright shade of a tree full with leaves makes me incredibly happy. I can't wait to get to New York to photograph some wonderful New York dog photography clients.

I'm booking sessions in New York currently for June 23 - 29, 2016. 

As always, I've got a limited number of fine art dog photography sessions available for this upcoming NY trip. So don't hesitate- take the first step by learning more about my process here, and then use my contact form to get the conversation started. 

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Los Angeles Dog Photo Sessions in May: 2 Spots Left!

I just opened up two Los Angeles dog photography sessions the weekend of May 7-8, 2016 — but these will go fast! I'm flying out to LA that weekend to film a segment with NBC for their show 'First Look' with Ashley Roberts and her tiny dog Cooper. We'll be shooting on Monday at a beautiful photo studio in Downtown LA with amazing natural light and clean white walls- just the kind of studio I love. 

While I'm in Los Angeles to photograph Ashley Roberts' dog, I'll have time to book two LA pet photography sessions. You can check out my 2016 travel schedule here— and as you'll see, I won't be back in LA again until October. So now's your chance to book a wonderful summer dog photo session in LA!

Get in touch and I'll send you a Welcome Packet once we schedule a quick Creative Call. Click below to get the process started and grab one of these upcoming Los Angeles dog photography sessions before they're gone!

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