Featured Artist: Carolyn Evans

December 13, 2011  

StubbyDog chats with PhoDographer.com’s Carolyn Evans about how her photography has made a difference for many dogs in search of homes

Q: Can you tell the StubbyDog community how your passion for animal welfare led you to become a photographer?

A: I actually began photographing dogs as a way to help promote adoptions at local shelters and rescue groups. Even as my hobby evolved into a full-fledged business, I continued to dedicate time to photographing homeless animals. Over the years, I’ve watched this area of pet photography grow, and I’m glad to see that there are so many photographers, pet photographers and others, out there today and willing to donate their time and talents to helping animals. Today, I’m a proud member of the group HeARTs Speak, which is a community of artists working together to help animals.

Q: How has photographing adoptable dogs changed you? What has it taught you?

A: Through photography and networking, I’ve been able to make a difference in the lives of countless people and animals. Knowing that I have the power to save even just one life from death row and connect one animal with their forever family has made me a better person. It pushes me to continue finding new ways to connect with people and educate them on the plight of homeless animals – even when it is difficult or awkward to do so. Recognizing that my actions can actually mean the difference of life or death for an animal has given me the courage and strength to get out of my comfort zone and take action. Knowing that my voice can speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and that my camera can convey a picture of an animal that can touch someone’s heart, has taught me that if I am passionate enough about a cause, it is my responsibility to do something about it. This is summed up best in a favorite quote of mine by Alice Walker: “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”

Q: For others who want to photograph adoptable dogs or their own dogs, what are some tips?

A: Be patient – follow their lead. If it’s an animal that you don’t know, take time first to connect with the animal and try to understand their personality and what you intend to capture through your lens. In my opinion, there has never been a better application for digital photography than this. Expect to take a lot of pictures to get what you’re looking for – don’t get frustrated and don’t lose your cool! Consider this an extended play session with the animal and give them time to get comfortable with you and your camera. Get down on their level and look them in the eye. Try to understand the world from their perspective. Take breaks, have fun and bring lots of treats!

Q: Tell us about a particular story photographing an adoptable dog.

A: Rather than relate the story here, I’m just going to put in a link to it. While I had photographed my fair share of rescue dogs that were not at risk of being euthanized and dogs that had already been adopted in the 10 years since I had started photographing homeless animals, this was my first real “rescue mission.” Chunk is the dog that stole my heart.

Q: You donated to our StubbyDog art auction. What’s your experience with pit bulls and what made you want to help our cause?

A. I had a pit bull when growing up. This is before I even knew what a pit bull was and before they began to be so maligned by our ignorant society. I do a lot of work with my local pit bull rescue, Adore-A-Bull. Here’s the story about the pups in the photo that I donated.

Q: Please share with StubbyDog readers a little about your photography business and your nonprofit Happy Tails.

A. PhoDographer.com was formed as a spinoff from my charitable organization, Happy Tails, whose aim was to promote pet adoptions in the Tri-State by featuring successful adoptions of local pets. Heartwarming tales and endearing photographs were included on our online site and sold as greeting cards, along with information about local rescue groups, and related animal welfare information such as euthanasia statistics, what do with a stray animal and the importance of spaying and neutering. I maintain strong ties to the local animal welfare community and continue to support their efforts through generous in-kind donations of products and services. I use my business as a platform for educating people about the animal causes that are important to me.

(Item donated by Carolyn Evans for the StubbyDog Art Auction)

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