stories of love, healing and survival
“Finding Shelter is not a shelter dog project—it is a people project. It is a story about the symbiotic relationship animal shelter volunteers share with their canine and feline dependents, and the beautiful care taking that happens between the two species. More importantly, it is an opportunity to rebrand our nation’s animal shelters and unveil the truth: that shelters are a place of love, warmth and healing.”
After raising money on Kickstarter and having my project selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick, I traveled across the country photographing more than 150 volunteers and shelter animals in 2015. These emotional portraits are accompanied by personal accounts about why people dedicate their lives to such tireless and challenging work, giving viewers access to a side of the shelter and rescue world that has never been seen before.
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When Dogs Heal:
The healing power of dogs w/in the HIV community
“When Dogs Heal is a photographic project that tells the stories of people who believe that the best medicine may not always be found at a pharmacy or in a doctor’s office; sometimes it comes in the form of a four-legged friend. When Dogs Heal is a collaborative project of the nonprofit charity Fred Says, whose mission is to ensure that all young people living with HIV receive the services they need to lead healthy, productive lives, and photographer Jesse Freidin.”
Since 2014 our team has traveled to cities across the country in search of HIV positive people who were willing to share their stories about the healing power of canine companionship. Whether it was to combat loneliness or stigma, to discover the importance of unconditional love, to manage one’s medical care or to simply have a best friend in a time of need—each person’s story is a unique and empowering account of the incredible bond between a person and their pet. Paired with these powerful stories, each portrait shows the realities of HIV/AIDS in a personal and intimate light.
Exhibits have been shown in multiple cities.
Published by Zest/Lerner Books in 2020
The Doggie Gaga Project:
polaroid series goes viral
In 2010 Lady Gaga became the creative director of Polaroid. At that time I was given some of the last remaining Polaroid film in the world by The Impossible Project and photographed some friends' dogs wearing handmade Lady Gaga costumes. What began as a creative side project celebrating dogs, instant film and originality became an overnight viral media sensation. The series was featured on Live! With Regis and Kelly, Perez Hilton, MTV, People Magazine and countless outlets around the world. The dogs loved it, I promise.
"Like Lady Gaga herself, the Doggie Gaga Project blurs the lines between madness, creative genius and hilarity. Jesse Freidin stumbled into this sideline through his interest in classic Polaroid film. When the company decided to revive its instant camera business last year (2009) and named Lady Gaga as "creative director," Mr. Freidin joked on Twitter about combining all his passions - dogs, Polaroids and Gaga. Then the joke turned serious... Apparently, dogs dressed up as pop stars is an idea that strikes a chord with a lot of people."
—Modern Dog Magazine
American Sporting Heritage:
Contemporary hunters and their gun dogs
Hunting requires humility—this is what attracted me to this series. There is a transformation that hunters undergo in which they temporarily shed their human coil, entering into a primal dialogue with animals, the environment, and the immediacy of their senses. Experiencing all of this beside them is their gun dog, and I became incredibly curious about the intimacy that existed within that bond. The culmination of this project was a solo exhibit at The National Sporting Library and Museum in Virginia and an artist's talk.
“The resulting series of hunting portraits is intimate, vibrant and fresh, yet has a modern appeal. In essence, Freidin is preserving two traditions – the art of analog photography and the generations-old experience of hunting. Through his camera lens, Freidin invites the viewer to join him in contemplating the question, “Why do people still hunt today?” and explore the relationship between the contemporary hunter, his gun dog and the modern landscape." - Elite Equestrian Magazine