It’s a dogs life

Domestic animals are something I don’t usually photograph. Nothing against them, it’s just that these are the type of photographs I’m simply not interested in doing. I first went to work in London a number of decades ago when I was barely out of my teens. The first assignment I received was about sheep dogs. The photo editor said, “You’re from Australia, you should know plenty about sheep”.

I stood in the middle of Hyde Park as shepherds whistled at their favourite dogs encouraging them to round up the sheep, along with the man from the colonies who was trying to photograph them. No matter where I stood the dogs were behind me scampering back and forth and nipping at my heels, so I was hemmed in along with the rest of the more compliant sheep. Nevertheless, from my location in the middle of the flock I managed to get an image that became my first international published picture. I’ve photographed tigers in India, lions in Africa and wild bulls in Mexico but never seem to have much luck with domestic animals. I photographed my daughter’s bird; it died. I took pictures of her cat; it left home. The neighbours’ dog refused to turn up for the photography session we had organised. It must have heard about the cat, the bird and the fish who turned up their fins at the strobe flashes. During the last few weeks I’ve been on the road photographing villages in different countries including Greece. Early one morning I wandered down the street to see if there was anything worth photographing in the village as day began to come to light. I saw a woman relaxing in her yard and stepped up to the wall to take a photograph. As I pressed the shutter, a dog stuck its nose, eyes and face right into my lens. The decisive moment I suppose you could call it. Well, the indecisive moment was what resulted because the dog ruined my picture. As I said, I don’t have much luck with domestic animals.