This past week my friend and photographer Jo McAvany phoned to tell me she had volunteered to do photographs for a local business called the “Brazilian Dog Guru”.
The owner, Fernando Silva, had a great idea to photograph people’s dogs with Santa Claus for donations to support a local dog rescue organization.
I wasn’t surprised when Jo said she jumped at the offer to be the photographer. As well as an avid photographer, Jo has opened her home to a lot of rescued dogs over the years.
I was delighted that she would be doing that, and wasn’t surprised when she first asked if she could borrow some of my lights and second, suggested that I come too.
I thought it would be an unusual and fun way to spend the day. After all, I like dogs and they usually like me, so there we were at 11am on the following Sunday setting up lights in a small room while saying hello to Santa.
Soon excited people and their best friends were lining up outside waiting for the elves to take them inside for their photographs.
During the Christmas shopping days I sometimes like to watch the Mall Santa photographers as they work. The technology has changed over the years. Its digital cameras tethered to computers so that parents can instantly see the pictures, make their choices, pay and walk off with a matted print.
For a few years I set up the photography for local malls. Although that was back in the 1990s, not much has really changed much. However, back then instead of the digital camera and computer, the photographer would take the rolls of film to the one-hour processing lab at the end of the day and parents would have to return to get their pictures.
Most of the dogs and owners that came for Jo to photograph with Santa were well behaved. Although like some of the children I saw at the mall’s Santa booth, they weren’t having anything to do with that stranger sitting on a bale of hay.
The owners would bring them in to meet Santa and their eyes would roll and they would almost pull their person over trying to get away. More than once that meant finding a human that wasn’t wearing a red costume. Sometimes the dogs ran back to their owners, but more than once Jo almost was knocked over when they chose her as a safe refuge from the scary man that was grabbing at them from high on a bale of hay that probably seemed dangerous when it moved under their feet.
After setting up the lights I had nothing to do but pet all the dogs and be entertained by the goings on in the room set aside for Santa and my friend Jo. (A tough job, but someone had to do it)
By the end of the day I am sure Jo not only had a sore back from bending over, (we decided a tripod might get in the way of dogs and dog leashes) and although she didn’t mention it, she probably had a bruise or two from the big dogs that thought she was there to jump on.
What a fun way to spend a day.
Dogs and photography, it doesn’t get much better than that, unless one includes that this event was for a very good cause; collecting donations for the “Pom and Pals Country Rescue” dog shelter.
Oh, and there are now over 50 dogs that have a picture of themselves with Santa. I think some people are going to get some great Christmas cards this year.