NH Magazine Cover Image

How one Dog Photographer got the Cover of NH Magazine

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I was on my way home from a very needed week off in December, sitting in the airport in the Jet Blue terminal when my phone rang. Well as you know, my first reaction was “another sales call” or “Hi! This is Susan from Google and I can help you get more visitors to your website”…blah. blah. blah. For some reason I answered it anyway. It was a nice gentleman on the other end, he said he was from NH Magazine. I thought, so here it comes, they want me to buy advertising. Nope!

He said he was on my website and loved my images. He was in search of a Cover Image for the February edition called “Pets”. He fell in love with the Out-Take image I had of a sweet little French Bulldog called Fiona. Fiona belongs to a good friend and SOPHA member Sue and her adorable daughter Emma.

It didn’t really hit me at the time what he was saying and on top of that they were boarding the plane! I had to quickly excuse myself from our conversation and ask that we catch up on Monday to talk again. What I really wanted was to make sure I heard him correctly. My image on the cover of NH Magazine!? Really?

As you can guess, Yes, my image on the cover. I was flattered. It was an incredible feeling.

By the end of January I started to look on the news stands and in Barnes and Noble for the magazine, it was not out at those times. In fact I had some what forgotten about it, until one day standing in line at Market Basket with Bud. Out of the blue I had remembered the magazine may be out. As I said to Bud, we should look for the magazine, I turned and there it was. He said I squealed but I don’t think so. I was kind of awesome to see on the checkout stands.

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It was an unforgettable moment! So much fun!

Here is the finished cover.

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NH Magazine is a great read, a great way to get to know what the people around you are doing. There are some wonderful artists, business people, restaurants etc. in our area.

George Eastman Museum – A history of Dogs in photos

When did dogs come into our lives as pets?

Wikipedia and other sites will tell you they aren’t exactly sure. They know it was the Grey Wolf about 27,000-40,000 years ago.  These dogs were mainly seen as assistants to humans. The hunters-gatherers types. Some scientists argue that friendly wolves sought out humans. Friendliness caused strange things to happen in the wolves. They started to look different. Domestication gave them splotchy coats, floppy ears, wagging tails. In only several generations, these friendly wolves would have become very distinctive from their more aggressive relatives. But the changes did not just affect their looks. Changes also happened to their psychology. These protodogs evolved the ability to read human gestures.

As dog owners we take for granted that our dog can get the toy we ask them too. Or if we have taken the time to teach out dogs hand gestures, they can read us. They are reading us! All of the time.Some dogs are so attuned to their owners that they can read even a simple, subtle change in eye direction.

Throughout history, animals have played a key role in human life. People have come to rely on animals for food, clothing, and transportation. Even religious worship.

From what I have learned pet keeping wasn’t generally accepted in Europe until the end of the 17th century, and it wasn’t common among the middle classes until the late 18th century. Pet keeping in its present form is probably a 19th century Victorian invention. At this time, it was perceived as a link with the natural world, which itself was no longer seen as threatening. It also allowed a visible demonstration of man’s domination over nature.

My reason to today’s blog is not to school you in the history of pet keeping but to answer my curiosity of when were dogs important enough to photograph?

The George Eastman House Museum

In my on-going quest to answer this question. I stumbled upon some answers. While Bud and I were attending the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY for a class in Daguerreotypes, we had a chance to visit the museum, or “George’s house”. I was surprised to find these four photos hanging in his private family collection.

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Be Sure to look closely at the dates. The 1800’s!

When I travel through a museum I have this thing about seeing how many paintings include a dog, I want a better understanding. It’s quite a lot actually. Dogs by themselves hunting. Or a girl in a beautiful dress holding a dog. Dogs at the feet of their masters. One of my favorites is of a dog “relieving” himself in what seems to be a church. Come to find out Emanuel de Witte painted this scene quite a bit. Were dogs even allowed in Church? Not in my day, that would have been cool!

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It seems as though dogs for pets were for the wealthy. I suppose so were photographs and paintings, so who’s to say the un-wealthy didn’t keep any dogs for pets. It could be that it just was not recorded.

 

In my travels I keep any eye out for old photographs of dogs. Here are some I have come across.

Do you have any old photos of a dog?

A Piece of My Heart – Sessions One, Two and Three

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.

Kim@KimberlySarahPhotography.com

781-504-9404

The Cat Sat And That Was That

Seeing that today is October 1, 2016 the first day of my favorite month! As a child I used to have such anticipation for Halloween! It truly was my favorite time of year. Yes, I loved Christmas as well. But something about Halloween…was it the smell of the all things Fall? Was it the leaves that crunched under foot? Was it the idea of being anything or body you wanted to be? Was it the competition between me and my brothers to see who got the most candy? I suppose it was partly all of those things, but Halloween brought us together as a family as a neighborhood even as a town, and yes everybody was celebrating Halloween across the country. Maybe that was the best part?

As I have said in past posts, I should have been a set designer, I just love decorating!

I had two challenges this day, one to decorate a minimal Halloween set and one to photograph a CAT! Yikes! A Cat??? Let’s just say they are VERY different than dogs, we all know that right? Well that is even more true in the studio! My friend Jenn Bakos of Jenn Bakos Photography and exceptional wedding photographer here in New Hampshire, agreed to take her cat Bumpkin! A black cat, perfect for my creative idea…sort of.

Bumpkin was beautiful, sweet, and…, well…, very much a cat…could have cared less about what was going on. Jenn was great, trying her hardest to get the cat to sit.

Well, all I can say is it has taken me longer to write this post than the photo-shoot with Bumpkin.

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The cat sat – once. I’ll take it!

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Working My Buns Off With 9 Wieners!

When I put out a “4 Legged Model Call” I didn’t realize what fun I was in for. I had 5 Dachshund puppies come into the studio with 2 sets of parents. 9 dogs in total!

When Sarah arrived with the dogs, she was more than prepared, She came with 2 “playpens” to keep them wrangled. One for the puppies and one for the parents.

She was so organized, it was great.

But now, I had five puppies in front of me, one cuter than the other. I can’t even explain.

I wanted to do my popular Puppy Bowl, I chose Tucker, and he was perfect. With no effort on my part, we got a fantastic image.

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As time went on we were able to get some amazing photos, these dogs were so adaptable, Sarah took very good care of them all, they were so well adjusted, puppies and adults.

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It was time for the adults, we were hoping for a “Family” picture…well, that didn’t happen but we did get these.

I had a few helping hands, Sarah, her son, my Mom, Bud and myself. We had a blast through out it all. These pups have all gone to good homes and I hope to see them again some time soon.

 

You can follow Sarah here on Facebook @Power Dog Sports

 

Would you like to be featured in The Dog Blog? Call or email me for more information.

Kim@KimberlySarahPhotography.com

Being a Dog Photographer means helping other Dog Lovers!

Being a Dog Photographer means helping other Dog Lovers!

As I find myself with what feels like less free time than when I was working 50+ hours for a large hospital, I still feel the need to help. Help other humans and especially help dogs. As a Dog Photographer I have led a class called Sit. Stay. Smile here at the studio, we worked in conjunction with ARLNH- Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. We had 8 puppies that day, a class full of eager photographers and a check for ARLNH! I will be running this class again in November. (sign up here to join me)What a treat! But I wanted to do more…

I scoured the net to find smaller Shelters or Rescues; I came across Mary’s Dogs. They are located in Northwood, NH just outside of Deerfield. Please read about Mary’s Dogs here. They re-home dogs and puppies from shelters in North Carolina and South Carolina. It’s not that we don’t have homeless dogs from NH or New England, we are lucky it is not the problem that the south has. Mary’s likes to point out the larger goal is to educate and support the spay/neuter movement in the south. This is a very large problem for dogs and puppies. People don’t love their pets any more or less because they live in one geographic region or another. But kill rates spike in high poverty areas with limited access to affordable veterinary services for spaying and neutering. In the rural South, unsterilized dogs are often allowed to roam outdoors. Many counties have weak or unenforced leash laws. Shelters in such areas are overrun, with kill rates ranging from 50 to 95 percent. Even where adoptions are encouraged, low population density makes them rare. Here are a few articles you can read if you were unaware of the issues:

The Bark

The American Humane Association

The Animal Mission

On the day I was to photograph a transport of puppies, 22 pups were scheduled to arrive! Yes, 22! That means 88 Paws, 44 silky ears, 22 wagging tails and a load of cuteness! Well, I was not disappointed.

I arrived at 9:00am, what seemed like a small house quickly became clear at how organized and accommodating the space was. The counter was lined up with dog food bowls, Allyson was hard at work checking and rechecking her list to make sure all went well. An amazing aroma filled the room, it was a large Tupperware tub, Allyson was scooping spoons full into the dog bowls, I asked, what is that??

Mary made homemade chicken soup! Yes you read that right! HOMEMADE CHICKEN SOUP!  Funny, it was just like my mom makes, real chicken, carrots, rice and potatoes! Wow! I knew these puppies were going to get a great welcome to NH!

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9:30 the Howl on Wheels transport van arrived, run by Kelly Ivory. She had a great team with her!

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The pups were unloaded one by one they were in such good shape, I wasn’t sure what to expect since they came all the way from Forgotten Tails in SC. They were all beautiful!

Happy to be out of the van, the pups got to run around in the play area, have some water and do their business before heading inside for lunch. I have to remark on the orderly fashion this team from Mary’s was working. A fast pace but nothing went unnoticed, each pup got individual attention, all their needs were met. Ears cleaned, eyes cleaned, fed and watered. I loved seeing a room full of happy dogs. Most of the dogs at this point were already adopted. I believe there were 4 puppies without a new home when I left that day. Of course it was difficult for me to leave a pup behind, but the care and love they were getting filled my heart. Yes it wasn’t even noon and my day was complete! I spent 3 hours with puppies and dogs also with great people, people who care and give of themselves. This team was just amazing and I cannot say enough good things about them. I was so happy to be a part of it. My little part in all of this was to get Mary some nice photos for her to post on social media to get the word out. So please if you feel like doing a small part as well, like Mary’s page on Facebook and help spread the word about spay/neuter movement in the south.

On a side note, I totally fell in love with Noah. Good Luck Noah, where ever you are! Enjoy your new family!

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You can find more pictures from the day on my Facebook page. Kimberly Sarah Photography

Three Great Dane Puppies, One Darn Good Dog Photographer

July 30, 2016

Ok, all kidding aside, I do not boast about my work or talents.

As a Dog Photographer we meet all kinds of people and dogs. This particular day I was about to meet three 4 1/2 week old Great Dane Puppies. Oh. My. Goodness! I could not wait! As you may have seen Wilson was in a few days before for his fine art dog portrait. He was to be the first of our newly announced 4 Legged Newborn Sessions. Wilson as you may recall was 8 weeks old, well these amazing Great Danes walk in at 4 1/2 weeks and are the same size as Wilson! A Dog Photographers dream challenge.

For me, I form a concept (thank you Bud Thorpe for driving this home) before the shoot. My concept was for these three puppies all sleeping nicely in a dresser draw I brought to the studio from home. It was silver so I knew it would work well with their coloring. It helps to get a picture of your subject before they are in your studio.

I started, one puppy at a time. They were wiggly, squirmy and full of life! A challenge indeed. Sit, Stay, recite the Battle Hymn of the Republic all meant the same to them, remember they were 4 1/2 week old puppies. Not much time to lean anything, they just opened their eyes 3 weeks ago. But it was great fun. Their human mom’s were fantastic to work with. We made some adorable photos in the first concept I had. Here is Spree in here pink basket.
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Now comes the challenge – Three sleeping dogs…

It took time, talent and lots of hugging and whispering to each puppy. First JuJu, just the sweetest, blue eyed puppy. She was on her way to tired so that seemed easy. Next was Pixie, the runt of the litter and most curious. She took a bit longer to get to sleep, holding her like a newborn baby, she eventually feel asleep too. Phew! Ok, now for Spree, she was all the way awake. Was not at all interested in slowing down. However, time and talent was at play and asleep she went. Each puppy, one by one was placed in the draw. One waking while the others sleep. On and on it went. Until, our serendipitous moment….

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All three sleeping like the adorable puppies they are! Oh the joy!

You can see more images on my website or Facebook page

Learn more about SOPHA! The Studio of Photographic Arts