Photographing Casey the Golden Retriever in San Francisco was such a pleasure- she greeted me with a vigorously wagging tail and a huge stuffed hedgehog in her mouth. Our Photography Session was relaxed and playful, the way a fine art dog photography session tends to be. Though I did give her a few suggestions of where to go - since we had beautiful San Francisco light and I knew my black and white film would pick up some great indoor and outdoor textures - I mostly just gave Casey and her human a chance to be together and honor their bond.
Casey is a 10 year old dog. She has grown up, matured, loved and bonded with her human every day for the past 10 years. And that connection was so apparant and vibrant. Creating emotional images for both of them was easy. As an observer and an artists- I was moved by their quiet yet playful bond. Watching them I could see their years of history together, their stories, the way they cared for each other simultaneoulsy. It was a beautiful bond.
We curated a great collection of fine art dog portraits at my San Francisco studio. Looking at the work from our dog photography session together was powerful, and made each of us tear up. Maybe we all just knew that Casey's years are numbered, and felt relieved to have been able to capture her at her best. Below is the feature image, which will be installed in the entry way for all visitors to enjoy as they walk in:
I love teaching my photography students about 'shooting through the moment'- a technique that allows the artist to truly be present and aware inside each image they create. Because photography is not a static medium, the idea of 'snapping' one frame and getting it right is simply ridiculous. Not even the best photographers can do that, and they certainly would not encourage that technique. When observing living/breathing things (people, animals)- I use my camera simply as a tool to observe and record moments. For each moment I observe, I expose a series of frames knowing that the perfect moment (a mix of focus, exposure, emotion, expression, texture, and composition) will fall within one of the many exposures. Here's an example of why shooting through moments is so powerful: the image on the left is a winner, the one on the right is not.