If the cold and snow has you dreaming of summer, we’ve got a treat for you today. Imagine a park, a sunny afternoon, a Frisbee, and a gravity defying boxer mix named Jet alongside his owners. Pretty fantastic thought, huh? Now add a photographer experienced with action and sports. The result? Some artistically brilliant photographs that tell an energetic story.
“Clint (Thayer) recently stepped away from photographing humans and spent a wild couple of hours at the local dog park with our dogs,” said Lisa Bell, Jet’s owner. “Jet, our lab/boxer, is an air dog and loves to play Frisbee. Clint captured in-flight pictures of him that will be keepsakes in our household! He was able to capture Jet’s true essence with up close beautiful pictures of a super happy dog and his super dirty Frisbee. We are in love with each and every picture!”
So are we. Especially the one of Jet’s aerodynamic flight, mouth open, ready to snatch the disk.
The photograph of Jet’s spectacular mid-air catch was captured at Badger Prairie County Park, one of the City of Madison’s dog friendly parks. The image represents Thayer’s understanding of what it takes to get "that shot" during a split second of activity - even when the athlete has four paws instead of two feet.
Thayer's obsession with action and movement, originally manifested in sports photography, has easily transferred to other genres like pet photography. But this wasn't the only perspective he brought to the park last October.
The old saying “You can’t fool kids and dogs” has some truth to it. Animals are keenly aware of how they are treated. A dog can’t fake emotions, nor demonstrate a comfort level it doesn’t actually feel. Trust is required for humans to be natural around a photographer and with dogs - that need for trust is multiplied one hundred percent.
Capturing emotion would be one way Thayer would describe the afternoon in the park with Jet, Lisa Bell and husband John Wagner. “What I found interesting was how quickly the focus of the session shifted from the pet themselves to the interaction between pet and owner," said Thayer. "I've found the most engaging work came in those brief periods when pet and owner connected, giving me a glimpse of the mutual respect and love they have for each other. That was the story that needed to come out in the photos.”
Thayer’s approach to visual storytelling with dogs and their people was evident in his coverage of The 6 Legged Race in September as well as a custom pet photography shoot with two adorable pups and their owner, Deanna. "These two shih tzu mixes totally lavished love on their owner and received plenty of love right back," said Thayer.
Each of these dynamic dogs represents happiness in its truest form. Memories of their energy and ear-flopping runs across the park definitely makes us long for summer again.
The dog days of summer that is.