Being fond of dogs, I’ve never taken W.C. Fields’ advice seriously. Big, small, cute or ugly, to me they’re all great subjects for photography.
But I finally met my match when taking pictures for my Town Dogs project. I’d seen this young, lively Pug in a gallery on Pall Mall. With the owner’s agreement I arrived there one lunchtime, armed with my camera and ready for action.
What followed was slapstick comedy. Using biscuits, the owner and her assistant coaxed the dog to sit where the light was good. And as I crouched down to focus, an eager Pug would rush towards me. For a few minutes we persisted, with the same result. A change of tactics was needed – I put my camera away and decided to play with him. So there we were, wrestling on the floor of a London art gallery.
When I got out of breath we tried taking pictures again, hoping the dog was as tired as I was. This time we put him in a chair near the window. Restless as ever though, he only kept still to eat his biscuits. This was one of his few quiet moments.
Reviewing my contact sheet brings back vivid memories. In many of the frames, skewed verticals and blurred limbs tell their own story. I love working with animals, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
If you’ve had any similar experiences that you’d like to share, let me know.