Latest blog posts from specialist dog portrait photographer in Johannesburg South Africa.
'Little Brown Jobs', hereafter referred to as 'LBJs'. A phrase I often hear bandied about when people make references to brown mutts that find themselves in shelters waiting for homes. Whilst at first glance it may seem that all brown dogs look the same, I'd like to challenge you to observe more closely this selection of brown mutts and see if you still agree.
All of these gorgeous and incredibly unique LBJs were photographed by yours truly either for 'Mutts the Book', or the spin off Sandton SPCA 2018 'Mutts Matter' calendar. Both projects are fundraisers for two charities I support, who frequently find themselves unwittingly in possession of brown dogs and know all about the subsequent struggle to home them because of their perceived lack of individuality.
Excuse the high horsery, but I am on a mission to do everything I can to breakdown and change misconceptions that often abound about shelter mutts.
Getting people to change their attitudes about adopting shelters dogs (it probably won't be good with my kids, I don't know what's happened to it before so I'd rather not take a chance, it's not a pedigree, it might suddenly turn on me or my kids, its bound to have behavioural problems, blah, blah, blah) is an agenda I'm keen to push. Granted one has to proceed with eyes open when adopting and some of the above preconceptions might occasionally be true, but, most often shelter dogs integrate brilliantly into their new homes. Buy my book and you'll find out all about how great mutts are.
My passion for mutts stems from my own experience visiting shelters. On the occasion that a pure breed dog finds itself homeless and unwanted, invariably they are snapped up in a heart beat. I can only assume that this is because of the connotations associated with the particular dog breed and how lovely it looks. It makes me very sad that there seem to be lots of homes available when a Bulldog ends up at Sandton SPCA, but those homes evaporate when it's a mutt that needs to be adopted. Sob stories and heartbreaking tales of abuse up the odds of a mutt getting adopted, but how about an LBJ being chosen because he or she is a cool looking dog with a quirky personality?
I'm always thrilled when someone who's had a pedigree dog and then adopts from a shelter tells me that their mutt is the best dog they've ever had and that they'll never go to a breeder for a dog again. Happiness. I'd like more converts please.
Don't get me wrong, I love all dogs and I understand that some folks have a real penchant for a particular dog breed, if that's you please google to find a rescue organisation for your particular breed of choice and adopt your next dog rather than buying from a breeder. If however, like me, your requirements for a dog are to keep you company, be your friend and share your life and you care not about their outward design, please check out the mutts at your local shelter. I promise that you won't be disappointed.
Mutts the Book is available to buy here - www.emmaobrien.photography along with a selection of other doggy goodies. Sales proceeds from the book are being split 50/50 between CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) and Sandton SPCA
In case you were wondering, I have 4 mutts ranging in size from 5kgs to 33kgs and they are full of fun, personality and incredibly smart.
Mutts the exhibition. I'm planning to put together a photography exhibition in the next couple of months, so if you have an LBJ from a rescue centre, please send me an email with their photo and adoption story for a chance to have them included.
Excitement was the order of the day for this dog portrait shoot featuring not one, not two, but six Great Danes. Most of the doggies are rescues, one is blind, another is deaf, so this was quite a challenging shoot to undertake. I rely on using treats and squeaky noises to get head tilts and gorgeous portraits, so I had to draw on some ninja skills here.
As it's impossible to transport six Great Danes without a ten ton truck, I went to their home for the shoot, taking with me a portable back drop, a reflector and a little bit of luck.
This is Titan, he's a Great Dane mix and a rather handsome chap.
This is Jack Sparrow who really is as funny in personality as he looks.
The combination of treats and dog noises worked like a charm here, especially on Licorice.
Velcro the deaf girl required a dextrous and deft combination of treat manoeuvring and quick reflexes from me to get her to face the camera for a front on shot. She is called Velcro because she has to be with her Moms AAAALLLLLLLL the time.
Whilst the Danes did their best to steal the show, Pebbles the Pug with her super cute poses really gave them a run for their money. She managed to hog most of the group shots we took once the individual portraits were done in the most adorable way.
Magic did a super job of supervising the treats, oops, I meant shoot.
Lemon just wanted to be loved.
As one big group shot was going to be nigh on impossible, we broke the group shots down into pairs and watched as the Great Danes squashed the vintage couch.
Pebbles and Velcro in total denial about where they're sitting, I think they thought if they didn't make eye contact, they'd be invisible. We can see you and you look fabulous, even though you're on the couch.
Whilst this is a dog website, I do occasionally have the honour of cats letting me photograph them. I think you get the gist of how these two felt about being papped.
So what's so great about Great Danes? They have goofy personalities, no idea how big they are and they look very pretty on vintage furniture.
So this happened.
Meet Phoebe, Chelsea and Harvey, three little dogs with BIG personalities. They came through to the studio with their parents and grandparents (Harvey belongs to granny and grandpa) for a portrait shoot which was rather chaotic, but lots and lots of fun.
If you've ever wondered how I actually manage to get portraits of multiple dogs sitting still, the answer is with patience, perseverance and snacks.
Smaller dogs are usually much easier to coerce into sitting still than big dogs and with all the extra pairs of hands made this shoot quite easy really.......
Harvey (above) wasn't overly impressed with the whole portrait shoot thing, the girls however got totally into the modelling vibe. To be fair to Harvey, his Dad was telling him that he smelt like a little girl after his bath the day before, so that probably put him off his stride a bit.
All eyes on the snacks.
Cheese, viennas and............
Happiness is an arm full of Dachshunds.
I'm so excited to see what the portraits from this shoot look like hanging up at Fran & Brad's house. They ordered 12 20cmx20cm framed portraits which are going to look amazing.