Turning the Camera on Pet Photographers

Last month, Nadine featured a quirky short documentary on Larry Johnson, who “specializes in photographing nervous cats, bringing out their various dispositions and getting them to really open up in front of the camera”:

One of the most talented photographers I know in general is Carli Davidson, whose work I featured on The Dish for years before befriending her in Portland, Oregon, where most of my family lives now. Her best work is both morbid and full of heart, especially her series on disabled pets, namely Ramen Noodle the bipedal poodle. Carli had a hugely successful book called Shake, which captures a variety of dogs, well, shaking. You can preorder the cat version now.

Here’s a short profile of Carli that gives you an idea of how great she is:

From an interview:

LORI: I know you love animals. What do you think it takes to be a good pet photographer?

CARLI: When I work with animals, I am an animal. I know this sounds kinda crazy, but it’s how I get to a point where the animals are willing to let me cram a camera in their face and pop off tons of lights all around them in an unfamiliar place. You kind of have to get into their heads.

You have to be open to a lot of different animal personalities, too, and sometimes be an impromptu pet therapist. I get some dogs and even cats that LOVE the camera, but to many of them, it’s a big scary eye! I often begin my session by making sure the animals like the camera… let them lick it even (I use UV filters to protect the lens) before pointing it at them.