The moment the beautiful Tilda walked into my Richmond studio I knew I was in for a treat: beautiful, charming, friendly, very well-trained and attentive, she was going to be the perfect subject.
But I didn’t know the half of it. As her owners started to chat and shared with me Tilda’s extraordinary story, I began to realise I was in the presence of the most heroic creature I have ever photographed. Like many galgos or Spanish greyhounds, Tilda – or Vera as she was then – was a stray, probably abandoned by her previous hunting owners when she was no longer of use to them. She was found wandering the marketplace of a little town in southern Spain in search of food, struggling with a severely broken leg. Her kind rescuer took her to the vets where her broken leg was treated and placed in a cast.
But the vet also realised she was lactating and had likely given birth very recently. So the search was on for the pups and their mother was the only one who knew where they were. With her rescuers, Tilda was taken back to the place where she had been found, and on a long lead she promptly led them nearly two miles to an abandoned car, and in the back were ten fat healthy pups.
I broke my toe last week. It is just a little break and all strapped up now, but it is as much as I can do to walk our dogs the length of our local dog park. I am overcome with respect and emotion for this dear little dog who walked determinedly for two miles through streets, over rough ground and across fields, sometimes limping, sometimes dragging her cast, to bring her offspring to safety.
All that is behind her now. Her photoshoot with me was a celebration to mark the one year anniversary of her adoption. She now lives with a lovely, sighthound-savvy family and enjoys a life of luxury and love. Thanks to her courage and bravery, all of her pups survived and have grown up to be beautiful, strong, healthy young dogs, just like their mum. And all have now found loving homes, all except one. A stunning black pup called Jackson was returned to the rescue recently because his homing didn’t work out. If anyone can offer Jackson a home please get in touch direct with Ibizan Hound Rescue or via the Facebook page Vera and Pups. With the genes he’s inherited from his wonderful mother he is bound to be one very special little lad.
Oh and Tilda’s amazing story even made the national press, see here.
It seems mad to be mentioning Christmas in November. But the truth is that the professional printing labs I use get very busy at this time of year (so do I!) and their Christmas deadlines are now approaching fast. So, without further ado, here are my last ordering dates if you want that fabulous canvas of your dog, or a stunning acrylic wall display of that image from your horse photoshoot, or to order a Madaboutgreys Photoshoot Gift Voucher for your friends or family in time for Christmas:
4 December for wall art (canvases, acrylics etc) & display products
11 December for standard photographic prints
18 December for photoshoot gift vouchers delivered by post
23 December for photoshoot gift vouchers delivered by email
I’m now officially fully booked for photoshoots till January, but if you are enquiring about a booking for a beautiful greyhound (or a lovely lurcher, or a winsome whippet) I might just be able to fit you in.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows…
I always love doing dog photoshoots among the bluebells at this time of year. The woods in Surrey and Hertfordshire have literally hundreds of beautiful locations if you know where to look.
The light was just perfect the other evening, the air heavy with the scent of bluebells and the sun making a surprise guest appearance from time to time. We could almost imagine that we might disturb the Fairy Queen asleep among the bluebells.
There is something particularly special about photographing whippets, their faces are so full of character, and the way they sit and lie and stand is so utterly photogenic. Little old man Ridley was a delight to work with, with his fine features and gentle face. He is now virtually totally deaf (though you’d never know it from those spectacular ears) – I think he has become adept at understanding sign language though. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital as a patient or supporting a family member, you’ll know how important it is to stay positive, despite feeling vulnerable. And when the hospital environment is a bit less clinical, a bit more homely, that can help a lot. So when the charity Paintings in Hospitals asked me to donate a photoshoot for one of their fundraisers of course I said yes.
Bichon Lottie’s family were the lucky winners. In fact she was such a gorgeous little dog to photograph, I think we were all winners…
Check out this link to learn more about Paintings in Hospitals and the work they do.
Cats are notoriously hard to photograph, kittens even more so, and when you want to photograph a very active pet against a blurry background (shallow depth of field with lots of bokeh, if you are interested in the geeky details), the technical challenges just pile up… I love a challenge. And I believe that when they hire a professional pet photographer, my clients are hiring me to go the extra mile and produce the shots they would have little chance of creating themselves. So towards the end of my shoot with these gorgeous Abyssinian kittens, I went for the most technically very difficult shot I could imagine. I like the way this turned out. I hope you do too.
There is just something about greyhound Paddy. I’ve known him since he was a puppy and loved him for as many years. So I was delighted when he and his new greyhound sister came to my studio in Richmond for a photoshoot. He’s no longer a puppy but is every bit as charming as he was all those years ago. He has a wonderful way of listening to the handler and giving them 100% of his attention – just perfect for pet portraiture. Did I mention he also has the most expressive ears I have ever photographed?
PS You can check out his equally beautiful sister here – she is currently my website cover girl.