Thursday, 8 December 2011

Poodles...Thousands of em.....Don't shoot 'til you see the whites of their eyes

    In November I did a dog show called Discover Dogs at Earls Court. When I say did a dog show I mean I exhibited some of my work at the show in an attempt to drum up interest and hopefully get some commissions. The show was interesting and was also very successful. The clientele were fairly wide ranging. As well as the expected dog obsessed breeders and general dog nutters wearing sweatshirts with a picture of their dog on the front, were those like me, dog lovers who feel no particular desire to show their affections via the gift of fancy dress. Don't get me wrong, my own dog is no stranger to a pair of reindeer antlers at Christmas, but this is once a year and strictly for the holidays. So most of the punters were pretty normal and simply liked dogs.
Hanna and Ann trying to marshal the Poodles
    One of people I met at the show was a woman called Ann who lived just outside London and had 9 poodles and a puppy bulldog. Could we do a portrait of them she asked? In a word, yes. I did at first think it may be possible to get a group shot of all nine. Looking straight into the lens and throwing shapes on command. This was not the case. In fact one of them vomited and ran out of the room as soon as the first flash fired. The above image shows Hanna, who was assisting on the shoot and the dogs owner trying to convince them all to sit together on the sofa/studio set up we'd built in the conservatory. They had one squeaky toy between them which I think made the sound of an elephant, or was it a horse. Whatever it was the dogs were hilariously indifferent to it. Anyway, try as we might we could never get more than 7 of them together at once.

Seven Poodles

In the end we opted to shoot the dogs as single head shots and make something out of it later. The final  images have been used in my book and will be in the dog section of my web site in the not too distant future.It was hard to take a bad shot of any of these dogs. They had that lovely superior look that poodles do so well. We helped this by shooting from a very low angle and trying wherever possible to get eye contact. It was a really tricky and enjoyable shoot.

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