This past week I have had the honor of completing three Piece of My Heart (POMH) sessions. I must tell you these are the most difficult sessions for me and it may not be the reason one might think.
What goes into a typical session?
I often get inquires from folks wanting more information about my “regular” sessions or for my Four Legged Newborn sessions. These inquires lead ultimately to a phone call, booking a time for the studio. It is after this call that I can start my creative process – setting my brain to work on how to make each shoot unique while capturing my style and the customer’s desires. I truly love this process. And I love hearing from such proud pet parents! I get excited for each and every pup walking through my door!
All of those things happen for the POMH sessions as well. However, there is more to it, I hear about how much this ill or senior dog is loved, how this dog became such a part of their lives. I hear about the illness that is wreaking havoc over their beloved pet’s body. I hear about all the things they used to do and cannot enjoy any longer. I hear about the choices they have to make for their dogs. I hear about the stories of when they first met – true love stories. All of this is very heartbreaking, as many of you reading this, I too have lost my best friend and am staring down the barrel of another: my Winston is 10.
But again, in the above sentences those are not reasons I have difficulty with these sessions. I am more than okay with talking to folks about their ailing dogs. Do I cry? Yes. Do I feel for them? Of course I do.I would not be in this business if I didn’t have a wide open heart for dogs and people. They hurt; I hurt.
The reason for my difficulty is making the session “good enough”. I want these sessions to be enjoyable and memorable. I want my customers feel that this experience is long lasting. And above all I want these images to hang on their walls and not heavy in their hearts. I want people to look at these photos and smile even just for one second as they grieve their loss. I want theses photos to help in the sorrow that they are feeling. I want people to feel close to their dog. Living or past, dogs fill our hearts with love. That is what I want my photos to do. That’s a tall order.
I choose not to show the images I create in our Piece of My Heart sessions. These images are private – a moment between the lens and the dog. These moments, captured forever in these images, represent the memories between the owner and their loved pet. Those moments are private and in the deepest way personal. If the owner chooses to share an image publicly, I may, with their permission do so too. But I won’t post images, however poignant or vital, that might objectify these amazing four-legged members of my customer’s family.
The images I create in these sessions capture the silliness, tenderness, and love of the relationship between two living creatures sharing a journey together. May peace be at their side.
If you’d like more information on these sessions, please feel free to email or call me and ask any questions you’d like.