You know how it is when you catch the slightest scent of something new? Something you’ve never smelled before? A slight waft of new possibilities brushes by your whiskers and moves towards your nose. Millions of olfactory neurons fire in machine-gun like fashion and soon you’re nose is inches from the ground. Your legs start pumping with new intensity while your long, floppy ears move more scent up towards your nose. Coonhounds get it! It’s only a microseconds later that a good bawl comes pouring out from the lungs. The hunt is on!
This hunt started years ago. I was at the Rocky Mountain School of Photograhy in Missoula, MT for their Summer Intensive class. A a dog owner, my coonhound mix, Ellie, was with me for the three months that I was in MT. We loved hiking trails, splashing through mountain creeks and smelling the sage brush. The bond we created in those 3 months is forever strong!
For a long time, I’ve understood the relationship that happens between dogs and their people and have wanted to make that happen for others through the medium of photography. You know – “a picture is worth a thousand words” kind of thing. See those big ole’ dog eyes or a relaxed hand draped across a dog and your heart melts.
If you’ve seen an old black and white image of a dog and their family, spread out on the front porch steps of a worn, clapboard, ranch house, you know what I mean. That dog was every bit of “family.”
It’s taken me a decade to sniff the scent down, even though I’ve been photographing dogs – pets and their people, all along the way. But something’s been eating away at me – calling me (actually BARKING at me is more like it!). In 2011, my book Dogs and Their Women was completed and the scent has grown even stronger. I can no longer ignore it or get called away by another master. I think that the drive to the prize is so strong, that like a German Shorthair Pointer wearing a training collar, a good shock might not even be enough to call me back now!
A Woo, Woo, Woo, to all of you! This year The Alpha Dog (me) is creating a new brand, a new website, a new blog, soley dedicated to all things canine. It’s a work in progress right now but every single cell in my body is shaking with excitment as I get closer and the scent gets stronger. I’m looking for your help, however. A good coonhound needs a pack, you know. As a fellow dog owner, you have insight into the dog world and the relationships with your own 4-pawed companion.
Tell me what you’d like to see, hear, sniff. Have some ideas for me? Send them my way, as I’m in the process of designing from the bones – up. I really want to hear from you as I feel like a new-born puppy right now – a little blind and a little deaf – just beginning to paw my way through.