A Chihuahua in Woodstock New York
"Although I'd known about Jesse's work for years and always had the best intentions to contact him about photographing my dog, it wasn't until the latter portion of her life until I took the plunge. From the moment he arrived at our house I knew I'd made the right decision. He immediately made us feel at ease (likely not an easy feat when dealing with a blind, partially deaf chihuahua and her camera-shy human!). His approach is un-rushed and spirited, full of compassion and, ultimately, incredible skill. As a photographer I knew the aesthetic benefits of choosing film photography over digital photography, but what I did not know is how that would lend itself to capturing the essence of my beloved dog and I together in a portrait. The result is photographs that are at once timeless, yet rooted in this final, precious, stage of my dog's life: a temporal guidepost to reference both now while she is still with me and in the future when she isn't any longer. They are gorgeous documents of this time that we've had together—the culmination of over fourteen years side-by-side—and I am grateful beyond measure for not waiting longer than I already had to get in touch with Jesse, when likely it would've been too late to do so. You cannot do better than to have him photograph the bonds that you've developed with your pets, whether you are at the beginning of the journey, or, like us, nearing the end."
- Valeda: Woodstock, New York
What a special New York dog photography session this was. I've known Dulce the Chihuahua for many years, as well as her wonderful people. Dulce is a blind, mostly deaf 14 year old Chihuahua that is the definition of beloved. On top of being blind and deaf, she's also got a handful of other serious illnesses that old dogs just seem to collect and we've all known for a while now that Dulce's time with us is limited.
So when I was commissioned to photograph Dulce at her home in Woodstock, New York I was not only thrilled, I was very honored to be the one who got to commemorate such a very special creature at the end of her life. After discussing our options, this client requested color film for our New York dog photography session. Though I specialize in black and white dog photography, the choice is always up to my clients, and getting to load my camera with color film a few times a year is a fun change of pace. When I'm shooting color film, I prefer Kodak Portra for it's slightly warm neutral tones, and how it makes shady woods look so magical and skin tone so even.
I just love how this work came together. I was in my element, we were all in our elements and the light was just right and Dulce was truly being herself and everyone felt at ease. We all walked away from this session knowing we had done something so important.
My client, like so many clients (and regular humans in general) mentioned that she was nervous to be in front of the camera, but really valued being photographed with Dulce. So, as always, I did everything I could to create an environment of calmness and security so that everyone could not only be at ease, but also be themselves. The testimonial I received after our Presentation let me know that all that hard work paid off - you can see the comfort and deep connection in the images, as if no one was even aware of the camera at all. That is total success in my book.