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Josh Feeney, Shelter Photographer Extraordinaire

JoshJosh Feeney is a full time real estate broker and avid nature photographer. He volunteers with Safe Humane Chicago (SHC) and Chicago Animal Care and Control (CCAC). Immediately upon volunteer at CCAC, Josh noticed the need for better pictures of the adoptable pets, so he volunteered his knowledge of photography and became the lead animal photographer for the organization.

Josh told us:

“I simply wanted to capture the dog’s personality through photographs in hopes that someone would be able to envision this animal beside them on the couch at night, or going for a walk with them outside. I absolutely despise photos of an animal behind bars. This to me simply focuses on the negative, half-empty side, instead of the positive. I also feel that we become immune to these cage photos because they are simply predominant to so many people. It is very hard for me to believe that most people will look at a photo of a dog in a cage and actually want to adopt that animal.”

It was while reading up on Seth Casteel that Josh first stumbled across the One Picture Saves a Life Program. Soon after, he attended one of our workshops and had this to say:

“I think that this program is amazing, as the simple instructions on how to use a camera to take pictures of a dog is not as easy as people think. Being a wildlife photographer, I am used to a never still subject, so for me this is a fun challenge. For most people who only take pics of their friends once in a while, there is a huge learning curve. I also think that it is fantastic that Canon’s new Rebel and a 50mm 1.8mm lens were donated to everyone who signed up. 

A lot of people, especially in the animal rescue community, do not have $600-$800 lying around to go buy a new camera. As much time as I have spent photographing dogs, I have also spent a small fortune buying top-notch equipment which definitely helps. I can blow through easily 1,000 photographs of dogs in a week, of which maybe 50 are keepers. So this is definitely a hobby that requires constant upgrading to your equipment.”

When asked to share an adoption story, Josh told us:

“Just this week, as part of our 2014 calendar project for SHC, we video interviewed and photographed an Afghanistan vet who suffers from P.T.S.D. who adopted one of our dogs earlier this year. When asked why he chose this dog, he said that he saw one of my pictures of the dog eating a doggy cupcake, and it just melted his heart. That statement alone made my year. This amazing human being who has been through so much in the past several years from being overseas, god only knows the tragedies he has witnessed first hand. He even wears a bracelet in honor of a friend of his who died in the war. He needed something positive in his life. Each helps the other out in their own special way.”

Thanks Josh for sharing your story and amazing photos of shelter pets! Those inspired by Josh’s efforts can connect with their local shelter here and train online with our Learning Videos. And don’t forget: One Picture Saves a Life!