Photographing dog siblings is a really special opportunity. Just like human siblings, dog siblings have their own language, their own complex relationship structure, and their own complicated kind of love. Some dogs get along perfectly with the other dogs in their family, and some just have a harder time. Whatever the situation, I love when clients commission me to photograph two dogs together. For me, it is a chance to illustrate a complex relationship that often times is hard to describe in words. How do you speak about the tenderness between two sibling dogs, when words inevitably fall short of carrying the weight of that emotion and connection we can only understand visually? How do you describe the flop of one dog's paw over it's sibling's paw without making everything sound one dimensional?
Rocco and Butch were two Italian Greyhounds I photographed in San Francisco a few years ago. This fine art dog photography session has always meant a lot to me because Rocco passed away not too long ago, and all of us - my clients and I both - felt a deep sense of relief amidst our sadness knowing that we had created such a strong series of dog portraits to memorialize him. My job as a dog photographer is to form a deep connection to my clients so that I can understand what kind of meaning and value is wrapped up in their relationship with their animal companions. With that, I'm able to look more critically at their entire worlds, and illustrate who their animals are and what their animals mean to them. That's all wrapped up in one or two or three or four beautifully crafted dog portraits, which are then installed in my clients' homes to serve not only as reminders of a deep, deep love - but also to add depth and beauty to their homes. My San Francisco dog photography session with Butch and Rocco was a perfect example of this whole process.