Seattle Dog Photography by Award-winning photographer Jennifer Loomis
Dog photography is new for me. I mean, I have always photographed dogs as a part of people’s family, but it wasn’t until I started to see them as children with expressions and emotions that I really started to have fun.
Please meet Nataly and see some of the images from our session.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, your partner, your puppies and how you met, how you adopted the puppies. Why you decided to become a two-puppy family?
Nataly: Me, wonderful me, almost 53, and liking it. What defines me is being a scientist who dreams of being an artist, at least that is what gets me going. After two failed marriages I got incredibly lucky and met Dane while taking a jewelry class at Pratt [The Pratt Fine Arts Center].
I kind of was in a limbo, not really looking for a relationship. So, when he called to ask me out, I was confused, even though I spent almost three months once a week sitting in class next to him. We chatted about his girls and mostly tasks on hand during class. That was a year of my life when I was not working and trying to make a living as an artist doing jewelry and pottery. It was a fortuitous sequence of events that led me to Dane: my best friend (she keeps taking credit for my happiness!) told me about the jewelry program at Pratt, and Pratt screwed up my original registration. We have been together for the last nine years!
Dane should be the parent of the month! He has so much patience, love, and wisdom! Having five women in his life, two children 13 and 16 years old, his mother, ex-wife, and me. He is absolutely amazing, for all of us. He is a person who keeps us sane and brings order in our lives. Oh, and he is a fantastic cook!
As for the puppies, I was always a dog person, bringing puppies home and begging the parents to keep them. When my last dog, miniature dachshund Ferdinand the Beautiful passed away at age 14 and a half years. I was absolutely heart broken. Dane on another hand is a cat person. He used to have a cat, Tommy, to whom I was allergic, but the clever devil knew about it and followed me everywhere.
It took some time to convince Dane that we desperately needed a dog! The children helped, we read aloud a book How to Kill your Girlfriend’s Cat. Once on the way home after walking a friend’s dog, Dane’s daughter, Zuzu, who was five at the time, mumbled from the back of the car: “Daddy, is Tommy dead yet?” being told before that we can’t have a dog while we still have Tommy. So, we started looking for a dog, and at this point I will let Dane tell the story . . .
”How did we get so lucky
to have such a fantastic dog!”
Dane: Ian got an enormous book of all possible dog breeds from the library, and had all kinds of impractical suggestions, huge creatures, or ones with endless energy that would require miles of running, or were prone to too many health problems. I eventually said “Well what about this one here, Boston Terrier, family-friendly, medium sized, energetic, but not prone to destroying the house if left alone.” We looked into those a little more, and ran into some on the street and we all decided we liked the idea of having a Boston.
This seemed like a full-on green light to Natasha, who started combing the Internet looking at rescues, breeders, and other more random places. Almost by accident, she searched on craigslist and found a post “Boston Terrier--free to a good home.” It was of course an ad for Wilbur. His owner had started graduate school and dumped the dog on her parents, who had a cat that was terrorizing the dog, so he ended up spending his days in a crate. Immediately we realized that this sounded like a great opportunity and feverishly wrote a letter to Wilbur’s owner. Two hours later we got a response: "I got so many emails, convince me that you are the best family for Wilbur.” Ha… that we did, submitting a three-page essay. Jim (father of the former dog owner) decided that we were definitely the most literate contestants. We worked with him through the Boston Terrier Rescue Society. They came over for an inspection, asked a hundred questions, made us mend a hole in the fence and cut rose bushes. Thank God we passed! Several days later the transaction was complete! Every time we look at Wilbur we say: ”How did we get so lucky to have such a fantastic dog!” Also, he is named after the pig in Charlotte’s Web because of that cutest piglet tail of his.
How did the second puppy come along?
Nataly: Willy was getting old, and slowing down. We are away from home for most of the day, so he got to the point of throwing a ball for himself from the top of the stairs and then chasing it all the way down . . . And I realized that if he passes away I would be devastated. Having Wilbur for last six years turned us into crazy Boston Terrier people. We did try to adopt again, and looked at multiple dogs, but none of them will get along with old humper Willy. With Yuuri, it was love at first sight for all of us, he has the most joyful, playful, loving personality!
How is it being a step-parent?
Being a step-parent is challenging, especially if you have children in your household only for 50% of the week, and your parenting style and cultural background is very different—I am Russian.
I am just trying to step back, and enjoy the ride whenever it is possible, not really being a parent, but being another responsible adult in their life.
It is less heart breaking than dealing with your own children, or maybe I got older and wiser, and can control my emotions.
What is your secret to a good relationship?
Nataly: I don’t think there are any secrets there, it is kind of universal, for me the most important things are: trust, interest, respect, patience, kindness, and understanding.
Tell me about why you decided to have professional family photographs.
Nataly: It was easy, I saw your work, loved it, and thought that I want to have it in my house. Time flies so fast, dogs and children grow, we are getting older, and I wanted this time to be captured.
Tell me what the experience was like to work with me?
Nataly: It was the most enjoyable experience for the whole family! Ian loved chatting with you in Japanese and trying out kimonos! The dogs loved the treats and being the spotlight of attention!
Editorial Note: This article has been edited and reprinted with permission from Jennifer Loomis Photography. The original can be found on her website www.jenniferloomis.com. Instagram: #jenniferloomisphotography