Dog-leaping-in-air

Express Yourself (3)

Express yourself (3)


Hello wolf shadow friends. Here is part 3 of my series that focuses on facial and bodily expressions of dogs and cats at play or in everyday life. The action shots you see of WolfCub are all from the archive. He is past performing these kind of antics, even if he were not recovering from injury. One of my favourites images is Archie the Italian Greyhound down at shot number 12. His smile just cracks me up! This was taken with my iPhone while we were out walking one day. Of course I gave him a treat straight afterwards. I do like the cat shots too – sometimes they are so inscrutable, but their body language is no less engaging than the dogs.If you missed the two previous posts you can find them here and here. I hope you enjoy these – share with me your favourite image will you?  

Dog leaping in the air

Staffie dog emerging from water with a stick

British Shorthair cat with an imposing stance

Dog chasing a ball at the beach

Flying dog with funny expression

Staffie dog with funny expression

Dogs at play

Belgian Shepherd with ferocious expression catching a ball

Dog with toy in mouth

Abyssinian cat with outstretched neck

Black cat sitting in front of window

Smiling Italian Greyhound

Belgian Shepherd shaking off water


Belgian-Shepherd-dancing-

Express Yourself (2)

Express yourself (2)


This is the second part of a trilogy of posts that focus on facial and bodily expressions of dogs and cats – I have included some of WolfCub’s friends this time. If you missed the first post you can find it here.  The images mainly focus on dogs and cats at play in everyday life. Do any of the images bring to mind the antics of your dogs or cats? Do you have a favourite image? Please share your thoughts with me.

Belgian Shepherd WolfCub dancing on hill top

Australian Shepherd running with funny expression

Face of dog in deep water at beach

Border Collie running flat out

Standard Poodle running with toy in mouth

Black dog with tongue poking out

Cattle dog barking

Two Italian Greyhounds running side by side

Spoodle running with legs in the air

Cat peeking out from red garage door

Portrait of a smiling Italian Greyhound

British shorthair cat playing on table

Abyssinian cat tilting head

Belgian Shepherd running at beach with reflection


Smiling-Dog-in-water-with-ball

Express yourself

Express yourself


It has always amused and amazed me to see how many expressions cross our dogs faces in the blink of an eye or that which is expressed via their bodies. Too quick actually for us to perceive most of the time, but thanks to the camera, we can freeze these moments. Many times after a shoot, as I am downloading the images to my computer, I burst into laughter as the looks on WolfCub’s face are revealed to me. These expressions can range from the obvious happiness he is feeling in a particular moment to the downright deranged or demented! Dogs certainly don’t do things by halves – I love how they fully commit themselves bodily to the task at hand. They do not care about making fools of themselves, in fact, they seem to revel in it – I am sure this is one reason why we love them so much. The sheer exuberance and energy they display  through facial or body language lifts our spirits and I believe, takes us back to a time of innocent childhood play – something we tend to lose touch with in later life, but through our companionship and play with dogs, we are given an opportunity to explore that feeling once again. Please let me know, which is your favourite image?

Dog in water with ball in mouth

WolfCub jumping at the beach

Dog shaking off water

Dog dressed as Little Red Riding Hood

Dog playing tug of war

Dog happily running with front paws raised

Dog with ball in mouth

Dog with funny expression on face

Dog with mouth open to catch ball

Funny expression on dog's face

Singing dog

Dog running joyfully

Tail shot of dog splashing in water


Belgian Shepherd WolfCub-and-the-stars-

Into the mystic

Into the mystic


I borrowed the title for this post from Van Morrison, you can play the song here. This series of images speaks to my connection with WolfCub and our place in the world, both natural and urban – a sense of spirituality and connectedness that his presence has allowed me to feel and explore, and which has become  the core of my photography. I felt it first as we grew together, him from a puppy and me emerging from a dark place in my life to one of light  – a story for another time.  I try to convey this through my photography of him, with light, colour, texture, and subject matter. I want to capture the joy that we feel when a dog graces our life, to watch them play and run with unbridled happiness, always fully in the moment – to see this makes my heart soar. To those quiet moments in each others company, the sound of my breath with his, the comfort this brings, the love that flows between us, where no words are needed – these moments are to be treasured, never to be forgotten. When we are out walking, WolfCub beside me and I look down and see the way the fur grows in gentle waves down his back, laying my hand on him, feeling his warmth – this makes my heart melt.  To when life brings sadness, and he is there to lick the tears from my face, gently bringing me back to the present. What a gift he is! Through his companionship and many miles walked together, I have come to discover a greater sense of my own self, an expansiveness of heart and soul, flowing into the mystic, into a sacred space, me and my four legged friend.  Many of you already know but for those who don’t, WolfCub’s pedigree name is Lumineux Heart and Soul. I am sure many of you have similar stories or feelings about your companions – why don’t you share them here with me?

Belgian Shepherd against a starry sky

WolfCub Belgian Shepherd looking heroic at the beach

WolfCub Groenendael with circle of light

WolfCub walking towards camera with flying birds

WolfCub at the beach with the moon

Portrait of WolfCub with mystical light

Dog silhouette with dramatic sky

WolfCub the Groenendael and the stars

Dog at the beach looking out to sea

Belgian Shepherd running with sunset sky

Soulful portrait


Belgian-Shepherd-profile

Side by side

Side by side


I have always been fascinated by profile shots of animals. Whether they be cats or dogs, or horses, this type of portrait photography has always captured my attention. The profile shot lends itself to a different kind of contemplation. There is no returned gaze – instead we are able to focus on the contours of the animal, the shape of the nose and the head, the expressions on their faces, all of which reveal a story, a history of each animal or breed. We are often able to tell the breed of a dog especially, by its silhouetted form. The structure of the face, neck and nose in their myriad differences (or similarities) becomes more apparent when we see a series of images side by side. Human intervention is fully on display here: the preferences that were selected prior to and after, in conforming to breed standards set by Kennel Clubs, and their evolution over time. The dark side to this evolution are those breeds whose form has been pushed so far as to cause all sorts of health or temperament problems: where appearance is preferred over the health and wellbeing of these animals. If we truly value relationships with our canine and feline companions, we will stand with them, side by side, and treat with them on every level, with the respect and love they deserve. After all, isn’t this the gift their companionship has given us?

Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

Mixed breed dog

Tabby cat

BlackStandardPoodle

Tri colour Rough Collie

Belgian Shepherd X

Belgian Tervuren

Abyssinian cat

Italian Greyhound

Tabby cat

Belgian Laekenois

Boston Terrier

Spoodle

Airedale Terrier


Half-face-portrait-of-Belgian-Shepherd-

Less is more

Less is more


I began this series of half face portraits back in 2010, with my own dog WolfCub, a Belgian Shepherd.  Entitled Mr Wolf (Cub), the first image you see, on a bold red background, with his ‘wolfish’ smile, immediately creates associations with the folk tale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Emotional responses to this image from viewers have ranged from humorous, and powerful, to a feeling of threat. The half face portrait is immediately interesting because of it’s focus on the eye, by what is revealed and concealed. It creates a different mood. In a way, less is more – the gaze more direct, confronting. What were these animals feeling? What are the stories behind their expressions? What of our own contexts do we project on to them? Image number 7 shows a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback X, shortly before her death. Of course sharing that information changes how we look at her. With their direct eye contact, the dogs and cats portrayed here show a range of moods and expressions. And in gazing so intently back at the viewer, it seems a question about the nature of the relationship between human and animal is also being asked of us.

Mr-Wolf(Cub)

Elle the Belgian Shepherd

Nelson

Bull Arab X

Gina-the-Abyssinian-cat

Charlie the Standard Poodle

Elsa

Kenny the British Shorthair

Henry the Cocker Spaniel

WolfCub with pink tongue

Bella the Aussie Shepherd

Mastiff dog

Guido the Australian Cattle Dog

King-Charles-Cavalier

Archie the Italian Greyhound