The photograph’s ability to affect our emotions is undeniable. The gut-wrenching feelings we can endure viewing well placed war photos or the joy radiating from a Grandmother’s face as she watches her young granddaughter see life for the first time, the camera can direct our emotions in ways other media often struggle to match. In this vein I’d like to introduce you to a very special customer of mine.
In the woods near our house, where I often take my family for our evening nature walks, I met a woman walking her dog. She was soft spoken, a little shy, but enjoyable to speak with. The conversation quickly advanced to include her dog, a yellow lab. I learned that this was her first and only dog. From the stories she began to tell me as her eyes welled up with tears, I could tell she and the dog were as made for each other, as the expression implies. Together they walked along the wooded trails and hiked in the mountains. Faithfully leading the way, the golden lab led her owner on one happy adventure after another.
Many years passed by until one day, the golden lab’s age began to show. She now struggled to walk in those woods she loved. Paralysis set in on her back making leg movement difficult and unpredictable.
I could not help but gaze upon the aging dog. Her body was so thin and bony. Her eyes wanting so desperately the approval of her owner with the longing for days of youth not far behind. With her ears barely able to perk, I knew she was tired. It was then I was told the lab’s final visit to the vet was but a few days away.
Her owner asked if I would take their final photos together. Of course I obliged. We found a patch of Forget-me-not flowers intertwined with the tall grasses. Though the evening was upon us, the subjects were posed, the photos created.
With the session over, we parted ways. She with new photos for her memories and I with a greater sense of photography’s ability to create and affect our emotions.
For those interested in the technical elements, I used a Nikon D700 with 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 lens