Friday, June 4, 2010
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with a black lab named Molly. Molly is a 5 year old sweetheart who not only has the looks, but the brains as well ;) Her Mom wanted to get some photographs of her to show the world just how fantastic a pup she's got.
To add to the excitement of the shoot, I got to leave the buzzing city and photograph Molly against the background of the PepsiCo gardens. These gardens, surrounding the PepsiCo Headquarters, cover 168 acres of land. Within the gardens are enormous sculptures including ones done by Henry Moore and Alexander Calder. The day of the shoot the sky was perfectly clear, the birds were chirping and the breeze was warm.
We started off in Molly's beautiful condo where I got to see that little "thing" she does that makes her Mom melt. Molly has been in love with this "blankie" since she was a tiny little pup. She picks it up and makes herself a little bed! Is there anything cuter than those puppy eyes?!
The bond these two share is amazing. Nose kisses are the best without a doubt!
Once we got to PepsiCo, Molly knew it was time to show off her stuff! But that means some very deserving water breaks.
The greenery in the gardens was outrageous. I couldn't get over how lush and soft everything looked. Maybe I've been surrounded by the concrete city too long? It still sure makes you appreciate the fresh air and great outdoors even more!
I had such a great time photographing Molly and her Mom!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Perspective is such a powerful thing to be aware of. It gives me a sense of freedom to know everything we do, say, see, or experience is always interpreted by the way we perceive it. I try to always evaluate situations a second time because the other amazing thing about perspective is it has the ability to change. So I dedicate this entry to a week of rethinking and trying to see my life in a different light. My glass that was half empty is starting to look half full. cheers to perspective!
On Saturday I met a group of photographers to walk along the super trendy High Line park. This is an old railroad line that ran above ground on the west side of Chelsea that was used from the mid 30 until 1980 when the last train ran (transporting a bunch of frozen turkeys!). It was closed down since and there was a whole ton of debate on whether the city should tear it down or reuse the space. They finally decided in 2002 to preserve the High Line and just about a year ago it opened as a garden/park to the public. My favorite part about this park (besides the fact that it is a great example of recyling, taking advantage of green space and preserving a pretty historical train line!) is that they reinstalled some of the original tracks. The grasses grow all around the rusted metal and it creates this really beautiful juxtaposition of the two forces we are preserving here. Here are some images from my photography walk :)
Possibly my favorite image from the walk!
The park just said no dogs.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I am convinced that every pet I have ever had/met/encountered/photographed must have been a human in a past life. It is one of my all time favorite things to image what they would be like: their occupation, how they must have dressed, what their voice sounded like, etc. My childhood dog, Squirt, we all imagined to have been a gentle giant.(He was 140lbs...not much of a squirt!) He was the guy always in the "friend" zone, but the best friend anyone could ask for: loyal, loving, and sweet as anything.
My sister's cat is definitely a sassy teenager, with a knack for getting away with anything. He is sneeky, but at the end of the day all he wants is to curl up next to mom.
So when I met my roommates cat, Zoe, (or monsterface as she has been dubbed) I couldn't help but see the 'human' in her. She wore narrow glasses that she placed strategically on the bridge of her nose. She had a single beauty mark slightly above her right lip and she just might have been a librarian.
Just a thought... ;)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This little English Bulldog could not have been over a year, so sweet and just wanted to play! MY favorite part of this shot though, is how Vonya, in the background, is so content with her ball.
There was such a diverse group there that night and they all got along so well. I never thought I would have stayed so long, but all these pups were so enjoyable to watch and play with.
This is a beautiful dog, called a Eurohound. It is a cross breed between an Alaskan Husky and a Pointer! Tons of energy and the Dad was telling me he goes dog sled racing with her and her sister, an Alaskan Husky. I will have to get some shots of her the next time I stop in.
I also made friends with the sweetest German Shepherd, Saddie (so cute!) and a beautiful long-haired Akita. Such an unusual and gorgeous dog. I'm still working on the images so check back in later to see these two. They are just adorable!!
Monday, March 29, 2010
I have to be brief, since I am out the door, but I wanted to share with everyone that I am now the proud owner of a 5D Mark II. I took it out last night to see what it could do in the low light and of course it did amazing things! The dog park was my first stop and I met some wonderful pooches and the dogs that own them ;) Stay posted to see some of the photos from that shoot! Today is the first night of Passover and I am very thankful I will get to spend it with my whole family as we gather around for the first seder. Until I return, here is one of my first shot with my new camera of my roommates stunning calico cat!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So the week of Christmas I went with my big sis to South Beach. The trip was a Chanukah gift from my parents for me and a 'get-your-ex-off-your-mind' gift for my sister. (She recently split up with her 3 yr long relationship..so she deserved it!) The trip was super fun and we had a blast doing our best to keep up with the crazy nightlife scene. Our days were filled with visits to family relatives, beach excursions, good (and way over priced) food, gallery hopping on Lincoln and, of course, some photo shoots I has scheduled prior to the visit!
One session was with a woman and her beautiful rescue boxer. I always love photograping these dogs because it brings me such joy to see another pup out of the shelter system.
The other session was with the sweetest woman, who fosters about 22 terrier mixes as she works day to day to find homes for them. I photographed about 15 of them and what a crazy fun time it was! (and a little french bulldog pup that showed up in the park as well) Hopfully my photographs can help to find these little guys their forever home!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
So, after a long...long..time of not coming to this page, (mainly in hopes of setting up a new and fancier blog) I decided, while waiting to get that going I might as well blog here. I have been craving to write about everything I have been up to for the last seven months and it is time to finally lay it all out.
So the best way to tell everyone what I have been up to is through a bunch of long, run on sentence. Follow if you can!
Last May I graduated college (woo). Finished the semester off with my 'Four to Five Million' shelter dog project I wrote about prior to today. It was so much fun and it made me realize again the passion I have for photographing animals. So after a great exhibition of my thesis, a front page article in the Springfield Republican featuring my photo work, a video posted on the website of the work as well, and a great last semester, I said goodbye to my life in MA and move home to CT. My goal was to find a job with a magazine doing fashion photography (what was I thinking?!) and move straight from Amherst to NYC. Big fail. I searched and searched for a job and there was nothing. So back to my parents house it was. I began interning for a wonderful wedding photographer, Carlos Varela, (this is really where I learned how to be a good photographer) in NYC, but it was still a 2 hour commute 3 days a week. While home I started photographing my pets. Mickey, a mixed terrier, who I have had since I was 9, my two little mixed chihuahua rescues that inhabit my parents home and my two kitties quickly became the direction I was pointing my lens. Why it took me this long to figure it out, I don't know, but it hit me (with my parents help) that this was really my true calling. I decided to start up my own pet photography business. It happened quickly and once I got going I really go into it. I completely love what I am doing now and have started working really hard to get my name out there. So after 6 long, socially deprived months, I made it!! I have officially move to NYC. I got a job working at a Veterinary Hospital in the East Village and found a nice little place in Midtown. I have one roommate who is fantastic and super sweet and I can now work, in the meantime, on building my business up. So, this is the begining of my journey. A journey exploring my passion and absolute obsession and love of animals combined with my overwhelming desire to capture them in a creative and contemporary ways through my lens. I feel determined to make people smile and give my clients a photograph that speaks more as a special memory and moment rather than a stuffy staged portrait. (I refer to this as 'cat in the boot' photography!) I hope you follow along in my new and exciting chapter. Here is to 2010, a year of everything new: new friends, new pets, and new york! I hope we can enjoy it together!!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
It may be a small step toward change, but my photographs have already begun to affect those who are witness to them. Perspectives have been slightly modified and stereotypes have been questioned. When it comes time for my viewers to get a dog, they will now be able to make a more educated decision with the knowledge I have provided. My work is a step toward enlightening the public and an attempt to alter the way they view these misunderstood dogs.
With a careful blend of advertising and lifestyle techniques I have made the dog my subject, putting emphasis on it as a life, not a product for sale. Some of these dogs have been in shelters for months, others are lucky enough to have gone into foster homes while they wait, but each dog, no matter where it is coming from has a story to tell and if you choose, it’s worth listening.
Thank you and remember,
Don't Shop- Adopt!
Friday, May 29, 2009
The shelter thinks he is about 1 year and 1 month old.
He has been at the shelter since Apr 02, 2009 after being picked up as a stray in Springfield.
Now he is looking for a home to call his own. The ideal parents for Blaze are ones that would go to training classes with him. Someone who likes to go for daily walks and ideally get some aerobic exercise in there too. He is great with kids over 8 years. He love to play, especially with that toy he's got right there! He look like a big, strong guy but sometimes act like a worried little mouse! He would need a family who has patience and tells him he is a great boy every time he does something right to help his personality blossom.
Click Here to Adopt Blaze!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A dogs own background can make the chances of finding a home extremely challenging. Breed, age, size and even color play a significant role in the outcome of a shelter dog’s fate. I am constantly finding myself blown away with the parallels in our human lives. It is disturbing to learn that the stereotypes and racism that continue in the human world are being transferred into the animal scenario.
The breed of a dog can already place it at an advantage or disadvantage. A young golden retriever that enters a shelter will be adopted out immediately while the Pit Bull is left waiting.
The American Pit Bull Terrier was once known as the loyal, loving and perfect family dog that it truly is. Pit Bulls are some of the friendliest dogs I personally have encountered. They are loyal beyond compare and known for their immense affection toward humans. The typical Pit Bull would rather lick you to death than attack. Yet it is a muscular and very powerful dog, hence why it began to be bred for fighting. Aggression is not a typical characteristic of the breed whatsoever. It is the human’s irresponsible ownership, treatment, or breeding practices that influence the dog’s behavior. Due to this common misconception as well as over-breeding, 80% of dogs in shelters are Pit Bulls.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Chyna is a wonderful dog that was returned to NERR&R due to unfortunate circumstances that affected her owners’ ability to keep her as their pet.
Big, vocal, smart, playful and testy. These are a few words that may describe Chyna but there is so much more to this dog.
Chyna is 100% housebroken and crate trained. She takes treats gently and loves to be the center of attention. You have to be careful where you sit because Chyna may try to climb on your lap and at almost 100 pounds it is best that she stay on the floor. She will sit or lay down on command but she would rather be sitting on you.
For More information about adopting Chyna please visit http://www.rottrescue.org/adoptions.html
Rose has wonderful house manners, and after some time chasing the tennis ball or a nice walk she is more than content to lounge on a dog bed or sleep on the rug as dinner is prepared and the evening winds down.
As her foster family, we are stumped as to how such a wonderful dog ended up a stray in a shelter. Rose waited for three months for her people to come for her, but they never did.
Rose is thought to be around 4 years of age. She gets along nicely with other dogs and sometimes accompanies her foster Mom to work at the families doggie daycare. Rose's one vice is that she cannot live with cats or other small and furry critters. She is very intent on chasing them and sometimes becomes consumed with finding the family cat. Rose loves to chase the hose and I am sure would be a happy swimmer when the weather warms up.
Rose is currently living in southern Vermont with 4 other dogs, one VERY dog savvy cat, a 7yo girl and her foster parents.
She would love to be the newest addition to your active household.
For More information about adopting Rosie please visit http://www.rottrescue.org/adoptions.html
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is Kody. He is an older guy who is already trained and neutered. He is in search of a quiet home with no children because they may be too active for him. He is 11 years old and was an owner surrender because his parents were moving and sadly could not take him along.
He loves leisurely walks with his person, yummy treats (low calorie, please!) and loves back scratches. Want to hear more? Come visit him and go for a walk together. It may be the start of something beautiful...
**Kody Has Found His Forever Home!!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Poor Kody has two of the largest factors determining adoption success against him: age and size. This factor may often even overrule the breed stereotype. A young puppy in a shelter will most likely get adopted within the week while dogs of older ages may sit months or never get adopted at all. There are a few reasons why this would be. One has to do with visual appeal. Plain and simple, the cutest most attractive looking dogs will go very quickly hence why a puppy will never sit long in a shelter. People tend to believe that if an older dog is in a shelter it means something is wrong with it since it was given up. It would be like taking on someone else’s problems that could mean more work and sometime more money. But, once again this is not necessarily the truth. Most older dogs that end up in shelters are there due to changes in the previous owners lives such as: death of guardian, no time to care for the dog due to work schedule, new baby, allergies, or moving where dogs are not permitted. These are all real case scenarios just like with Kody. It is extremely uncommon that a dog that was loved for years by a family would be given up when it got sickly. A lot of older dogs not only are perfectly healthy, but unlike a puppy, they often have already been obedience trained, socialized and have good house manners. This could be a great advantage when looking to get a dog because a large portion of the work has already been done. There will be no worries of them having an accident in the living room!
Another advantage to getting an older dog is personality. A dog’s true character comes out at about a year an a half. A puppy is cute for the first six months, but the majority of time with your companion is spent in the dog’s adult life. For example it is important to me that my dog loves the attention that I love to give him. When I would return home from college after not seeing my pets for five months, I cherished the moment when my 140 pound dog would cry in excitement and knock me to the ground try to licking me. But for an older couple, they may much prefer my other dog who would stand back and simply wag his tail. These are serious factors to consider when getting a dog.
Large dogs are often more difficult to place. This could be because space in homes is limited, or the common assumption that large dogs are aggressive. The truth is a lot of people fear larger dogs, but it is important to remember that the two traits do not necessarily run hand in hand. Kody here is a very big boy, but a big sweetheart as well. People at the shelter tell me that they have all fallen in love with the big pup and are just waiting to place him in a loving home!!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
My BFA Thesis Show
Host: Rachel Yessenow
Date: May 18-22, 2009
Time: Gallery Hours
M-Th 10-5, F 10-3
416 STUDENT UNION GALLERY
UMass Amherst, Amherst Ma, 01003
Thursday May 21, 5-7
This event is free and open to the public!!
**I will be posting the photographs from the exhibit on May 18, after the show is up. So if you want to take home one of the featured dogs, stay tuned!!**
Monday, May 18, 2009
- Rainbow Rescue Inc.
Rest in Peace Chewie
Mary is a loyal little pit bull who just wants to please people. There is no way to know her history, but most everyone who has met her thinks it hasn't been very good. When she first arrived at the shelter she was a bit worried and afraid of most new situations. She is believed to have spent her early months without much socialization with new people and places.
She seems to be improving already! Like any puppy she loves to play with toys and run around, but just needs a little reminder of the rules here and there.
-Thomas J. O’Conner Shelter
Click Here to Adopt Mary!
With proper care and plenty of love and affection, Knight has made great progress. He's at a perfect weight and loves to run around and play with other dogs. He enjoys playing hide and seek and tug, though his favorite game is playing fetch. Knight is an affectionate and loving dog that loves to cuddle and roll on his back for belly rubs. Happy and content, Knight now has a new lease on life and is enjoying every minute of it!”
-Debbie Kattar (Knight’s Foster Parent)
Click Here to Adopt Knight!
-Save Me a Spot! Dog Rescue
Click Here to Adopt Tayler!
“Captain Jack is a male Shar Pei/Boxer mix. He is approximately 1 year old and was brought to the Save Me a Spot Rescue from the East Granby Animal Control.
He's gorgeous, he's smart, he's a ham, he has black eye liner -- What other name for him but Captain Jack Sparrow? He is happy and exuberant but in a loving way always. He loves all people and dogs and gets along fine with our cats. He is a clown and a character but never gets us upset. Can't say enough about this great dog!”
-Save Me a Spot! Dog Rescue
Captain Jack touched my heart and it was hard to let him go! I can proudly report that today I was informed that CAPTAIN JACK HAS FOUND HIS FOREVER HOME!
She is approximately 3 years old. I believe she is part Chocolate Labrador and Dachshund. I call her a “Dachsador!” She has turned out to be the most amazing dog and I have been very fortunate that she came into my life. She has calmed down remarkably, is very sweet, and loves everyone!”
-Athena Bradley (Zerbina’s Mom)
“Zerby likes used tissues, snuggling across her human’s neck when they sleep at night, and has been known to get a can stuck on her nose (or maybe that is just a fear her “mom” has), and would gladly eat one of the fish in the fish tank if she could reach them- oh yeah, she’s also faster than a speeding bullet when chasing squirrels. She has this really annoying squeaky toy that she keeps trying to hide but that she seems to always find no matter where she buries it.”
-Robin Jaffin (Friend)
ZERBINA HAS ALREADY FOUND HER FOREVER HOME!
Bocephus is fully potty trained and knows some basic commands including sit and we are working on down. He is exposed to young children on a daily basis and shows everyday how patient he can be with them, including letting them climb all over him and play with his ears, feet, face, mouth, and tail. If you are looking for a big sweet guy who will fill your life with love then this is your guy.”
- Rainbow Rescue Inc.
BOCEPHUS'S ADOPTION IS PENDING!!
“Suzy-Q is a sweetheart with a rough past. From a young age she was kept in a cage and bred repeatedly. This caused a medical issue which was left untreated until her rescue. She has now made a full recovery. After her rescue she was attacked by a loose dog and nearly lost her life. After months of rehab (both physical and emotional) and medical treatments we are happy to report she has fully healed and is completely healthy now living with her foster family and 3 other dogs.
Suzy-Q is a people person. She loves her foster family and would like to find a home where someone is with her for a majority of the day to keep her company and take her for a lot of walks. She loves to run around out side (though she is not fond of being in the cold snow or wet rain) and absolutely loves to give everyone she meets kisses. She would be just as happy snuggling with her owner on the couch watching a movie or running around outside.
Suzy-Q is not a perfect dog and will require training and patience but her love and sweetness is absolutely irresistible. She can melt your heart with her eyes and will quickly worm her way into your heart (and onto your bed).
Due to Suzy's past owners neglect we are seeking someone who has a lot of love and patience.”
- Rainbow Rescue Inc.
Click Here to Adopt Suzy-Q!
-Thomas J. O’Conner Shelter
Click Here to Adopt Rosie and Sparky!
Photographer uses skills to save animals
AMHERST - Mary, an 8-month-old pit bull terrier, skitters across a photographer's background paper to chase a ball while clutching a stuffed toy in her mouth.
Rachel E. Yessenow laughs as she shoots picture after picture, looking for the right image to show just how lovely this dog is.
Yessenow is a senior at the University of Massachusetts, and the shoot is part of her senior thesis and show called "Four to Five Million." But, it is more than just an exhibit or class requirement. Four to 5 million is the number of animals euthanized in animal shelters each year. Her show is a way to help these dogs and others find a home.
Images of some of the dogs that she photographed will be displayed at the Student Union Art Gallery at UMass from May 18-22. Others will be posted on her Web site with adoption information.
She has spent months on the project, but her love of animals is lifelong. Her father, a veterinarian, encouraged people to adopt dogs from shelters instead of buying them, and her house was filled with pets in need of homes.
The 22-year-old Connecticut native had worked on a photography project in which she looked at the relationship between people and their pets. "I'm interested in how humans react with animals," she said.
She uses volunteer models to pose with the animals and shelters and rescue groups to provide the dogs, including the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield, where she photographed Mary recently.
In the photo on her show invitation, she has a model lying down, looking at a dog that is also lying down but looking away from the model. The dog has one ear up and one down.
Yessenow said that the dog, large and mostly black, is hard to place because of "dog racism in shelters - big black dog syndrome." People tend to be afraid of the dogs, in part because their faces are hard to see, she said.
And the same fear is applied to pit bulls, she said, because of the stereotypes that the dogs are vicious.
Mary, who was wagging her tail as she tried to pull the toy away from model Ethan S.D. Siegel during the photo session, was anything but vicious. Siegel, a UMass student, was having fun with the dog. Mary is more like the pit bulls Yessenow knows.
Yessenow spends several hours at each shoot and has traveled all over the region to take pictures.
Her photography teacher Susan Jahoda in an e-mail wrote that "Rachel's project is a really heartfelt attempt at using her studio practice as a photographer to facilitate an important cause.
"She is trying to create an awareness of the numbers of abandoned dogs, the conditions of their abandonment and the fact that people are encouraged, through the media, to 'buy' a thoroughbred puppy, instead of adopting an animal in need.
Said Barbara L. Hays, executive director of the O'Connor Center, "She does an amazing job of really capturing the spirit of the animals."
"She makes pit bulls cute and adorable. She really brings out the dog's personality and takes away the stigma."
Plus from her writing on her blog, Hays said, "she has some really incredible information."
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Click Here to Adopt Callie!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Rosco is an 8 year old dog has really been let down in the past. For eight years, he lived in a concrete, outdoor kennel. When the people at TJO went to play with him, he didn't even know how to play. But he sure tried and everyone laughed at him in a good hearted way. See, he is learning that people can be a dogs' dream in life, but he just need someone to show him that for the rest of his hopefully wonderful life! Could that someone special be you??????
Click Here to Adopt Rosco!