Pictures, pictures everywhere
This time of year has come to involve me looking at a lot of photos of dogs. Not mine, other people’s dogs. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Hundreds of people’s photographs of their dogs fill the Schnauzerfest inbox for two weeks in Spring as we begin the annual charity calendar creation. This year the task is a mammoth one as interest in it has exploded. Sorting through entries is underway and a herculean, joyful effort by our volunteers.
I gave a quick rundown on Schnauzerfest’s Facebook account on Saturday morning.
Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/reel/250373440900274
That hundreds of people send photos in to what is after all, a small charity, is testament to the love there is of taking and sharing photos today. And of course, it goes without saying, a deep and abiding love of dogs. It is a far cry from just a few years ago, in the pre-digital age. Then taking photos involved buying film and paying for their development. Every photo we took then cost us money and we took far fewer because of it.
My maternal grandfather was a keen photographer and taught himself, in the 1930s how to develop photos. Born in 1903, circumstances meant he was a poorly educated man. He grew up in a poor household on the East Coast of England. His father disappeared when he and his brother were very young, leaving their mother almost destitute. But grandad had a great desire for learning. I credit my love of history, books and interest in politics to sitting with him listening to his stories. He was a man of many opinions and lots of interests. They ranged from Native American culture, the Roman Empire, archaelogy, gardening, photography, politics, he knew a lot about the English Civil War and was all but a communist. He was an interesting man. I wonder what he’d make of today’s world. He would, I think, enjoy the direction my life has taken and how I trace his influence in what interests me.
My love of taking daily photos of the dogs started when our first dog, Jasmine died. I realised that we didn’t have many pictures of her as my shattered heart craved to remember her younger self. I wanted to flick through albums of happy images and instead I had very few. From our fourteen and a half years together we had just a handful of decent photos. I vowed never to be in that position again. So when we brought 8 week old Renae home, I went straight out and bought my first decent camera. I’ve written before about it here.
Renae’s life coincided with the increasing availibility of digital photography. Now it’s rare that a day goes by that I don’t take photographs. When Renae died, it took weeks before I could pick up a camera again. When I did, I knew I’d turned a corner in my grief, something I shared here at the time.
I take pictures not only with the convenience of my phone, but with cameras I’ve accumulated and taught myself to use better over the years. A lesson learned from my grandfather was that you can teach yourself most things if you’re interested enough.
Now that Schnauzerfest has all this year’s photo entries in, things move to the difficult judging stage. From almost 1000 photos of beautiful dogs around 70 will be selected for the calendar. It’s an impossibly hard task, but one which the judges will do with love, attention and glad hearts. There are many worse ways to spend screen time.
It is hoped the calendar will be on sale from mid September. Every penny from sales will help the charity do its work. To find out more about the work of Schnauzerfest, visit the website: