I've known Patrick for a while – our boys played on the same baseball team way back when. And when he asked if I'd be up for photographing him and his boys, I jumped at the chance. I do love photographing people, but I don't always love photographing people with animals. Animals might as well be infants – they don't understand a word you're telling them or a direction you're giving them, they could not care less for the images I want to capture, and more often than not, the animal clearly wants no part of these photos. With that said, photographing people with animals can also be totally awesome.
Kids – as photogenic as they can be – aren't always the most camera-friendly. Often times they're nervous, and like animals, want no part of these photos. They're getting direction from me while getting heat from their parents for whatever reason. And worst of all, as soon as I lift my camera and look through the viewfinder, they've been indoctrinated to give some super cheesy smile. So, for me, it takes a little bit to break that down and build up what I want to see. That's where the animals come in.
Patrick had told me they'd recently gotten a dog and he'd asked if it'd be cool to bring her along. Familiar with where we'd be shooting, I thought it'd be a great opportunity for a few reasons, but primarily, they can be a sort of safety blanket for kids to help lighten the atmosphere of family photos. And after several minutes of me trying to capture some frames, I'd asked if they let the dog go, would she run, and if she ran, would the boys chase her? They couldn't let her go fast enough.
I know my approach and vision isn't for all, but that's fine by me, because it's mine. I appreciate people like Patrick who afford me the opportunities to express it while documenting little slivers of their lives.