Remember the original smalls? Buzz, Gracie & Lola? If you’ve known me from Flickr, you know them well. Knuckleheads, all of them. Totally wild and untrained, but man, we were a tight pack. Several years ago, before I started shooting even as a hobby, I had a professional portrait done with the smalls, by Amanda Jones. It was an amazing experience, and now, it’s an experience that I get to give other people.
I came away from that shoot feeling that my dogs and I shared something special. I know, I’ve talked about this before, but it just occurred to me recently that my other dog friends haven’t had this done yet, by me or anyone else. And I’m telling you, before that dog leaves your life, you must do this!
My shoot with Amanda Jones had a profound impact on my life. I went in expecting her to be shooting film, but she had just switched to digital. I was really disappointed, because I was a purist, I wanted film portraits taken at a time when *everyone* was going digital. I loved my photos, but even more, I loved the experience. I loved it. My dogs were totally “on” that day; they knew it was different and special and they knew it was a sort of “once in a lifetime” thing, for them anyway.
A few weeks ago, Jeri and Max came down from San Jose to visit some friends, and while they were here, Jeri came into the studio with her bestie and did a shoot. Jeri’s shoot had an impact on me much like my own.
See, watching someone get down on the floor with their dog, or dogs, and really get into it–like, forgetting the photographer is there into it–is an amazing experience. I tell people, “you know, just sit down there on the ground and snuggle your dog the way you do at home and we’ll see what we get.”
And people do that! It takes them about 30 seconds to forget that they’re getting their photo taken, so they’re not worrying about their belly or their best side or anything like that. They’re in the moment with their dog and their dog is *always, ALWAYS* in the moment with them. You can’t help but get the warm and fuzzies when you see that kind of genuine affection going two ways. It’s different than couples. Couples give great canoodling, for sure (sometimes they totally forget I’m there and it gets kind of..interesting). But with dogs and people, it’s so different. It’s this very instinctual, “we’re both animals of a different kind and I couldn’t love you more if I were one of you” thing.
It’s amazing to see, it’s breathtaking to photograph, and it’s life-changing to feel.
If you haven’t yet had a photoshoot with your animals, call your photographer and do it. Do it soon, because you never know what the Universe has planned for you. I certainly had no idea what havoc she was about to wreak about my life, and I’m so glad I have those photos when we were all young and healthy. And here.