Some Dogged Inspiration

This is an image that has stuck with me for years and was taken by Elliot Erwitt in 1946 in New York City. If you don’t know who Elliot Erwitt is, I highly recommend this interview by his son, Misha which will add some context to this image and who he is.  Elliot Erwit has an amazing body of work and dare I say is an inspiration to many people, including me who have picked up a camera over the years.

Elliot ErwittI love this photo because he has got down low, real low and he has managed to maintain the dogs eye contact while showing just how small the dog really is. For me, taking this photo takes skills and some incredible forethought. He has other photos of people with small dogs and some are photos that easily recognisable.

I have always wanted to use the theme of the photo as inspiration to see what I could create. As its been pretty hot in here in Australia lately (40+ Degrees Celsius) I figured the best spot would be the boardwalk at the beach to attempt to take my concept of the small dog theme. There should be plenty of people around and some should have their pets out for a walk in the mornings or late in the day.

DSC02805I sat on the kerb of the footpath and watched this little dog with its humans to see what he would do. He kept looking back behind him and turned around completely while they waited for someone else to join them.

DSC02806

This little one, called Melluka, rides the train on the boardwalk and keeps his human train driver company.

DSC02814

I asked his humans if I could take a photo of their dog and they said that he wouldn’t come near me but he did exactly the opposite and walked straight up to me and let me take his photo. Maybe he was looking for a sniff, a lick or maybe some food but he was pretty happy that he was out for a walk with his humans.

It was definitely worth getting out in the sweltering heat to photograph these dogs and their humans and I must admit that the British Bulldog photo is my favourite photo of the day.

What inspires you to get out and shoot ?

Please note that I am unable to link Elliot Erwitt’s image or text to a specific website as I am unable to find one that has all of his work located however I am going to provide two links, both from the New York Times. This link is an interview with Elliot Erwitt and an Art Review. If someone finds an appropriate link please let me know in the comments as I will update these links. 

The Brandy of Distinction

I often wander the streets of Sydney looking for interesting subjects to photograph when I noticed this guy sitting with his two dogs in the entrance to St James train station. What caught my eye was the sign directly behind him and the sheer number of people who simply ignored him as they went about their lives.

dsc01019

Normally I don’t like to photograph people who are homeless for many reasons and the main reason is that I don’t want to or seem to be taking advantage of them but I couldn’t resist asking him if he minded if I took his photo.

Walking up to him, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself, asking him about his dogs and he told me their names and  that one was the mother and the other the daughter but for the life of me I can’t remember which. The blue heeler that he is holding growled at me but the blue heeler at his feet didn’t mind a pat. He put down his harmonica and let me take this photo. I asked him if he minded if I took his photo. Much to my surprise he said yes.

I only took two photos and showed him the end result on the LCD screen. He said was pretty happy with the results and after a few more minutes of talking to him, I shook his hand, threw a few dollar coins in and left. Since I have downloaded the image and processed it I have this desire, this want to print the image in a decent size, say 12×10 and then give it to him. He won’t be able to eat or drink the photo but I think the problem I’ll have is finding him again to give him the photo.

I think it paid off walking up to him and speaking to him. What do you think?