Pets & Their People

Do people own their pets or is it the other way around?  As a new dog owner, I was inspired to explore the intimate connections people have with their pets.  I discovered that it's a two way street.  People love their pets because the pets love their people.  Animals inform humans how to live fully and properly - filled with exercise, nature, humor, affection, and above all, spontaneity.  By extension, you could say the pets in my series dictated my photographic approach.

Frankie

Frankie

I was having a coffee inside a joint called Sweet Bar (Oakland) while my car was undergoing a smog check (it passed).  Brainstorming ideas and subjects for this project, I paused and looked out the window in thought - and I saw this guy with his pooches.  Really?  Really?  Right in front of me.  I introduced myself and we agreed to meet a week later to collaborate.  Frankie, thanks.

Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Our friends Caren and Mark babysit dogs.  This is one of them.  Her name is Roxy.  She's barky at first.  Then she's sweet.  Then she's a little tired of you.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

John, the benevolent dog walker.

John, the benevolent dog walker.

John and Stacey (not pictured) are professional dog walkers / whisperers / caregivers.  They have patience and doggie wisdom.  This is a full-time gig - with their hearts and their time.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

Stephanie and Stinky.

Stephanie and Stinky.

Steph and Stinky are dedicated companions - joined at the hip - or at least by fashion.  Steph is a dog trainer.  Stinky is trained.  

River and Dorian (in that order).

River and Dorian (in that order).

Fort Funston in San Francisco is dog heaven.  So it's people heaven, too - if dogs are your idea of heaven.

Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

At 14, Caleb has become somewhat of a Gecko expert.  He has about 50 of them in his room.  He breeds them (often selling them to pet stores), cares for them when they're ill, and can identify numerous physical deformities and afflictions of their brains.  This has been his passion since he was 5.

Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Julian is a dear friend of mine whose passion in life (one of many) is advocating for homeless Bulldogs, active with number of rescues & shelters in the Napa and Sonoma areas - and beyond.  Grim is one of the two Bully rescues she cares for with her husband Craig.  Stylist Danny O'Neill worked with me on the shoot.  In his mind, Bulldogs didn't have the best of reputations.  At the end of the day he was delighted he was wrong.  They're sweethearts - and very muscular. 

Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris is a recent cancer survivor whose several pets served as a shining light of hope.  Soon after this was taken she traveled to Europe with a friend for a month.  Kicked that.  Styled by Danny O'Neill, this is one of my personal favorites.  Danny's approach is rooted in story - not just style. 

Tyler and his bird.

Tyler and his bird.

While small and petite, Tyler and his mom treat this Love Bird like a human member of the family, handling him with confidence, unphazed when he flies up to the ceiling fan to take a break from a photo shoot, and articulately scold him when he eats the boy's homework.

Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com