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Q&A: The Dogist

  • May 9th, 2014 | Events

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    Elias Weiss Freidman is the lens behind The Dogist, a photo documentary series and one of our favorite blogs here at the office. Elias captures beautiful images of the dogs he spots all over New York City, and when we recently launched a dog-themed Instagram contest, we asked him to be our judge. He stopped by our HQ on Franklin Street this week where we introduced him to some of our officemates, Niko, Virginia, Bones, and Ruckus.

    Niko, a well-mannered Australian Cattle Dog/Shiba Inu mix, can usually be found guarding Tara, our home and jewelry buyer.

    Did you have dogs growing up?
    Yes – Ruby, Matilda, Snowy, Maggie, Oreo, Rigby, T-Paws, Bialy, and Willy were the Labs, Poodles and Labradoodles we had collectively as a family (not to mention the litters of puppies they had). I haven’t had a dog since I started college, though, so I’ve had a bit of “dogstalgia” the last few years. I’ve alleviated that to a degree recently.

    How did you get into photography?
    I grew up with a darkroom in the house. I learned from my dad along with a few great teachers over the years. I’ve always had an observant and explorative nature – I felt my camera gave me more of a purpose.

    Virginia, a playful Tibetan Terrier, was nearly twice this size prior to a recent haircut. She tends to wander between our planning and web teams in search of food, likes to attend meetings, and will try to hop on the elevator with you if you’re not careful.

    What was the impetus for starting The Dogist?
    I was working amongst my friends in the startup world and didn’t want to go back to get another “real job.” My friends were doing crazy fun, creative things on their own – why shouldn’t I? I realized I could focus my photographic ability on one of the most captivating things out there: dogs. I just started doing it one day and haven’t stopped.

    You’re now working on The Dogist full-time. What’s your goal for the project, and where do you hope to take it next?
    More, bigger, better. I’m very nimble as the sole photographer/owner of The Dogist – the project can go to all kinds of places and feature all varieties of dogs doing different things. While NYC will always be home base, given enough support from my audience, I would go to the farthest corner of the world to capture dogs doing things they would never see otherwise.

    Bones is a Russian Toy Terrier who can usually be found curled up under Safa’s desk, playing with his toy lamb. He prefers sleeping in our sample boxes rather than in his bed.

    What do you look for when you’re dog scouting?
    In a word: beauty. It’s not just about the dog, either. It’s the whole scene – the dog cuddled up next to the owner on a park bench. The dog in the travel bag. A funny haircut. A big smile – something that strikes me as special. Sometimes that means photographing dogs who are less fortunate than others – there’s a certain beauty in that too. I think a lot of people come to my page expecting “OMG cuteness” ad infinitum – that’s only part of the story.

    Do you have any tips or tricks for getting our dogs to post for photos?
    Get their attention with a toy or food is the simple answer. However, dogs are pretty quick to catch on to your antics, especially as the owner. A big part of my photos is the surprise factor – catching them off guard creates that curious, eager, scared, angry, excited expression I’m after. Most pictures owners get are of their dogs in a normal, relaxed state.

    Ruckus is a curious Italian Greyhound with a heart of gold. He hangs out with our design team and likes to sniff around in the kitchen.

    What are some of your favorite spots in the city for dog-watching?
    The parks are great, of course. Central Park has a fantastic variety depending on how far up you go. I don’t like to think I have my “spots” though – the best images I’ve made are at unexpected times and places. I’ll be hanging out with friends and then BOOM, there’s a pack of Great Danes or an exotic breed I’ve never heard of. That’s the beauty of New York. Always have your camera, people!

    Many thanks to Elias for coming by and photographing our friends! Don’t forget to enter your dog in our SA Dog Show on Instagram for a chance to win $1000 to shop at + a doggie bag featuring a Filson dog bed, Billy Wolf dog jacket, and Found My Animal leash.

    - Photos by Elias Weiss Friedman, The Dogist

    This entry was posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 5:54 pm and is filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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