When Dogs Heal- HIV and Companion Animals
For the past year I've been working on a very inspiring and challenging project with an old client of mine from Chicago, Dr Rob Garofalo. Rob was introduced to my work via my father, when while at a doctor's conference (about some sort of medical thing), Rob found himself flipping through his phone, looking at photos of his beautiful new Yorkie puppy. My father was sitting next to him, and being the proud dad that he is told Rob that his son (that's me) was a dog photographer in San Francisco and wouldn't it be nice if Rob got some wonderful portraits of his new puppy. That lead Rob right to me, and after flying all the way out to sunny San Francisco from Chicago- I spent a warm morning with Rob and Fred the Yorkie at Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park. Together we created a beautiful series of black and white portraits of Rob and Fred, and a great friendship formed between all of us. When Dogs Heal came out of that friendship, and has allowed me to tell a truly fascinating story about the human/animal bond alongside one amazing doctor, and one amazing writer. When Dogs Heal is a portrait and story telling project about the incredible healing power of canine companions within the HIV positive community. Dr Garofalo leads the Lurie Children's Hospital's HIV prevention program and is HIV positive. His experience with his dog Fred helped him through his own diagnosis, and from that the concept for When Dogs Heal was born. As an artist who is in love with telling deeply emotional stories about the human/animal bond- I knew When Dogs Heal would be such a great opportunity for Rob and I and our writer Zach to collaborate and share an experience that so many HIV positive people have lived through.
Portraits from this series are accompanied by personal accounts of how canine companions have helped the community stay healthy, hopeful, and unconditionally supported through moments of diagnosis, loss, and joy. We have photographed communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York and plan on exhibiting (unveiling) the series on World Aids Day 2015 in New York City. More information will be shared soon, along with a website and invitations to the public to get involved. For now, here are some of my favoite When Dogs Heal portraits- it's all very exciting, and is a real honor to be working on.