‘If there are no dogs in heaven then, when I die, I want to go to where they are’
‘Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace’
Inspired by a British Photographer called Chris Friel (www.cfriel.com) who (shame on me) I only picked up on in November 2018, I have been thinking a lot lately about taking sets of photos of things that either have been or are very significant in my life, rather than based solely around locations. I feel I want to actually represent and document my life a bit more all of a sudden – the things that are truly important to me and the things that have shaped me now I’m 60 years old and heading towards retirement.
It quickly dawned on me (shocked me a bit actually) that, apart from in a multitude of pictures taken on my phone, I have never, in any meaningful way, turned my camera towards my dogs Willow and Wallace.
It’s an odd thing; they have been, over the last few years, my constant walking companions whilst taking photos on trips to the Highlands of Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and they have impressively and touchingly learned to sit and wait patiently when I’m fussing around over my positions whilst trying to get the best shots (although I remain convinced they are actually thinking ‘oh my God, here he goes again’!).
But never them.
So why? Probably that I never wanted to take boring portrait-type shots (not of dogs or people) and I struggled with how exactly to make photos of them both meaningful and interesting.
So, in finally deciding to give them their rightful spot in the website, I wanted to represent them in a different way (mostly very different!), a way that I felt far better captured the essence of their characters and why I and my family love them so very much. I wanted to capture them going about their normal business in our home and on walks as it is all that small detail that makes them so utterly central to our lives.
That’s not to say that they don’t also feature elsewhere in my other photos; you may note that they are quite prominent, in a ghostly way, in a number of my shots of Osea Island Causeway where I feel they are an intrinsic part of the landscape.
However, despite that, it felt very right to honour them with their own little album here. I hope you’ll understand why.
For my wonderful friends and devoted companions Willow and Wallace and for all the many miles we have walked and, God willing, will still walk. Before them, for Jess and Laddie who still live in my heart every day. You have all changed me and changed me for the better.
‘Let us go now my darling companions, set out for the distant skies’