LaNola Kathleen Stone is a New York City-based professional photographer and dog lover who uses her talents and free time for a very heartwarming cause: Stone visits the dog pound near her home and specifically asks to shoot portraits of the dogs that are the “least likely to be adopted”, some of which have been there for over half a year and are likely in danger of being put down.
For the past two years, 37-year-old photographer Tou Chih-kang has been capturing the last moments of dogs at Taoyuan Animal Shelter in Taiwan. His roughly 400 portraits show the dogs — most of them abandoned by their owners — moments before they’re put to sleep. His mission is to raise awareness and encourage responsibility among pet owners:
I believe something should not be told but should be felt. And I hope these images will arouse the viewers to contemplate and feel for these unfortunate lives, and understand the inhumanity we the society are putting them through.
70% of dogs in Taiwanese animal shelters are euthanized after a brief 12-day waiting period, and it’s estimated that around 80,000 dogs will be euthanized year alone — a high figure for a country that has a human population of only 23 million. Tou’s project, titled Memento Mori
, can be seen here.
Taiwan photographer’s crusade: Doomed shelter dogs [USA Today]
Image credits: Photographs by Tou Chih-kang
Just like in real estate, for which good photos of homes can make a huge difference in attracting potential buyers, animal shelters often see spikes in adoptions when the animals are advertised with attractive photographs. For this reason, Arizona-based photographer Michael Kloth visits shelters on a weekly basis to offer his services to local adoption agencies. He writes,
I’ve been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. As I move through life I’ve come to realize that it is not enough for me to enjoy their company, but rather that I feel compelled to share my time and experience being an advocate for the homeless ones. I see that while people love their cats and dogs, they continue to make decisions that combine to condemn millions of them to death every year and I want to be a voice for change.
Each week I photograph adoptable animals at our local adoption agencies. My experience has been that quality photography is the first step in marketing these furry works of art to potential adopters. It is my hope that I can use these local animals as a voice for the millions of homeless animals nation and worldwide.
Back in September we shared the story of Teresa Berg, a photographer who volunteers her time to take professional quality adoption photos for dogs in shelters. Sadly, similar efforts to save dogs through photography aren’t always encouraged. A woman named Emily Tanen was fired from Animal Care and Control of New York City back in May for her photos of dogs scheduled to be euthanized. Her crime? Violating the group’s strict photo policy, which includes a rule prohibiting showing humans in photos. The New York Times writes,
When she started working at Care and Control, Ms. Tanen said, she believed that the animals were photographed poorly and that the images failed to convey the warmth of a potential pet.
With her art background from her studies, Ms. Tanen decided she could do a better job with her $1,500 Nikon.
[...] Ms. Tanen said she tried to comply with the rules, but sometimes felt her judgment trumped her superiors’. She continued to show people’s hands touching a dog, even after receiving a warning against doing so. “I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” she said.
You can see some more of Tanen’s photographs here (be warned: they show humans).
Fired From a Shelter After Photographing the Animals (via Gizmodo)
Real estate agents make it a point to have homes look attractive in photographs, knowing that good photography can make a huge difference, but the people at animal rescue shelters often settle for second-rate photographs of the dogs they’re trying to find homes for. Professional pet photographer Teresa Berg of Dallas, Texas realized that countless dogs are likely euthanized each year simply due to bad photography, and decided to make a difference. Several years ago she started doing shoots for a pet shelter free of charge, and helped increase the adoption rates there by 100%