It’s A Dog’s Life; Happiness Is A Warm Puppy

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"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement."--Snoopy (Charles M. Schulz)

On October 2, 1950, the first Peanuts comic strip appeared and introduced the world to "Good Ole Charlie Brown." Snoopy didn't appear until a few days later on October 4th, and then only as a pup. He isn't identified as a Beagle until much, much later. Snoopy has seven siblings, five of whom appear at some point in the strip--Andy, Belle, Marbles, Olaf, and Spike--but there's also Molly and Rover who've never made an appearance that I know of. Snoopy aficionados will tell me if I'm wrong. I don't own a Beagle or even have a dog right now. Daisy, a lost Brittany, came to visit us until we found her owner. Mary and I miss her and have been looking for our own Brittany. (You can see a photo of Daisy sitting in my office guest chair at: http://farace.smugmug.com/gallery/7577/4/59286968.) In celebration of Snoopy's debut, here's a look at four doggone fine photographers.

© 2006, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

www.canisphoto.com
Canisphoto is owned and operated by Michael and Susan Nastasi. Susan also owns Dogs-in-the-Hood Training. The cleverly designed site provides two ways to view the photographs: You can look at Michael's pooch portrait sessions in six galleries that contain mostly monochrome portraits of dogs, well, being dogs. A better way, and more in keeping with his whimsical photographic stylings is to view the images as a slide show. Just click the AutoPlay button and sit back and smile, because that's what you'll do when looking at these irrepressible personalities that just happen to be dogs. If you can tear yourself away from the slide show, take a few seconds to look at the color images in the sixth gallery to compare the effect of shooting these portraits in color. Here the images may be more "cute" but always full of Michael's style which places more emphasis on the dog's personality than AKC (American Kennel Club) poses. Michael shoots outdoors or inside, in all kinds of weather, and is not afraid to use wide angle lenses and get really close to the doggies. As his portraits demonstrate, they must love him to allow him to get this close, and dogs know who they can and can't trust.

Monochrome photography is evidently the best medium for capturing a dog's personality on film or silicon. Just take a look at Zachary Folk's puppy portrait parade. Oh sure, he's got some color shots in the mix and some of them, such as the doggie in the sweater, are endearing, but click through the rest for unbeatable funny and adorable black and white shots that focus on the dogs' eyes. Look at Folk's "wet dog" shot. It doesn't get any better than that. For traditionalists there's even a wonderful photograph of a dog bringing "his master's slippers," or is he just chewing on them? Hmmm.

©2006 Michael Nastasi, All Rights Reserved

www.folkphotography.com/dogs/
Folk has used his immense photographic talent to capture the personalities of all kinds of dogs from mutts to Airedales, and in honor of Snoopy's birthday there are some Beagles. Folk's style even mixes black and white with handcoloring in a photograph showing a tiny puppy staring from behind a huge fire hydrant that manages to be amusing and poignant at the same time. Then there's the rainy day color photograph of a Weimaraner (at least I think that's what he is) wearing a yellow slicker, taking his walk, and looking none too happy about it. Folk also photographs kids and cats; go to www.folkphotography.com to see his non-Canine Americans and be sure to read "the photographer." In it he explains that it was a dog named Devo who showed him the way.

© 2006, Zachary Folk Photography, All Rights Reserved

www.dogphotography.com
B Sparks has the best fine art dog photographer URL in the world. She backs it up with her working style as outlined in the site's Process section: "I come to your house to take natural light photos. Your pals and I start out with a warm-up period where we get to know one another. Then we play and rest and play and I document it."

Once again, monochrome is her medium of choice and when you go to the Gallery you'll be both inspired and delighted by her imagery. There are six collections, each with its own title, starting with "Best Friends" that abounds with delightful and humorous pet portraits. In the "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" collection, Sparks captures some dogs doing what they do best--sleeping. Don't miss the West Highland Terrier (Mary's favorite Terrier) in bed asleep on what has to be their owner's pillow. It's priceless. But it's in "Photoshoot" where you get to see Sparks' talent at work. This collection contains highlights of a session with one specific dog, who just happens to be a clown and loves to mug for the camera. A combination of extraordinarily imaginative photography of dogs and a clever design (it barks!) combine to make Sparks' website an homage to dogs and dog lovers everywhere.

© 2006, B Sparks, All Rights Reserved

www.deborahsamuel.com
Deborah Samuel is a fine art photographer of dogs who brings a sense of fashion (no kidding) to her canine imagery. Her all-monochrome Portfolio contains two collections: Dog and Pup. Clicking on them not only opens the image but also provides information about the breed of that particular dog, providing insight into their character. For people who like dogs but who are not familiar with all the different breeds this is a wonderful addition. Even one of my least favorite breeds, the Chinese Crested, appears here showing the personality that all of their owners are always telling me about. Kirby, the "Gene Kelly of dogs," may make me change my mind about this hairless breed. The photo of a Cirneco named Joeybagodoughnuts (his real name) showed me a breed I wasn't familiar with, and his portrait is as elegant as his name isn't. The portrait of Augie and Clara show two affectionate dogs reflecting the love their owners share, as much as Samuel's sensitivity.

Over in the Pup collection, cuteness abounds. Don't miss Charlie, who might just dispel any myths you have about Pit Bull Terriers. Like all of the dogs on this site, Charlie's delicately (not a word normally associated with this breed) crafted photograph is a real portrait full of the same kind of love and care a talented photographer such as Samuel can give. Even if you're not a dog lover, you'll enjoy the images in the Pup collection.

© 2006, Deborah Samuel, All Rights Reserved

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