When I was in the early stages of learning photography, I concentrated on creating images in a particular way. That was noble.
The trouble with that was that I was part, not all, of the equation. I neglected to nurture the relationship and connection I had with the subject of each photograph.
My approach to photography is connection + intention.
The animals who have mentored me along the way have taught me this, and it is a daily practice. Whatever I envision for the result of the photography session may not happen, and that's as it should be. When I focus my attention on building the relationship with the glorious creature on the other side of the lens, then my intention can follow.
It's only when I acknowledge my amazing non-human partner as a full partner in the process that I can create anything worth seeing. If I show up and fire off 100 frames without appreciating why a companion is incredible, I've done all of us a disservice.
We all want to be seen, heard, and appreciated for who we are.
My partner studies me to learn about who I am. I do the same. Rather than pushing her into my idea of how she should stand or where she should run, I follow her lead, knowing she'll be most joyful and vibrant in the photographs when she feels secure and free.
Sometimes that means the photographs are wildly different than what I expected, and it's on that kind of day I know I've done my best work.
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.