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Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography by Jamie Pflughoeft

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Introduction

I’ll never forget the day that started my journey on the path of pet photography. The year was 2000, and I was working part time as a dog walker and pet sitter while finishing my animal psychology degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. The place was a pet-sitting client’s house. I was sitting on the carpeted floor in a hallway with their giant, ancient, goofy mutt and frisky young kitty. This unlikely pair were playing, and cuddling, and teasing, and loving each other, and I watched silently in awe of their special relationship. “Man, I wish I had a camera,” I said out loud under my breath, feeling a familiar and characteristic urge to create things that I had felt since I was born. I wanted to create visual memories of the interplay between the dog and cat. I wanted to capture for all eternity, this special moment caught between two creatures that could not have been more opposite; to pay tribute to the relationship they shared, and be able to show people what I had witnessed. I wanted to capture the expressions, the emotion, and the personality of these two animals. Ultimately, it was as simple as just wanting to document what I saw and share it with others.

I ran home and returned with my old, full-manual Pentax P3 film camera that I learned how to use in the sole photography class I took in high school in 1989. I loaded it up with some black-and-white film and started what was to be the beginning of a surprising and rewarding career.

Shortly after ...

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