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Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and you end up in a place you never imagined.
That’s what happened to Carli Davidson, award-winning photographer and author of the wildly popular book, Shake.
“In 2009, I was in a car accident,” Carli told me from her home in Austin, Texas. “So I had to temporarily step back from my job as a zookeeper and conservation educator, since it was so physically demanding.”
A trained photographer, Carli turned to pet photography as a stopgap measure.
“I didn’t think of it as a career change. It was just a great excuse to continue working with animals while bringing in extra income,” she said.
But then ideas began popping into her head about how to capture pets in unusual and imaginative ways. Carli’s first creative project focused on special-needs pets, and the experience gave her the confidence to try other things.
“After that, whenever I’d get an idea, I’d just follow it to see where it took me,” she said.
Good thing, too! The inspiration for the Shake series came from a most unexpected place.
With a big head and huge jowls, her dog Norbert sprayed the room with saliva whenever he shook. It was while removing drool from the walls for the umpteenth time that she had the idea to capture animals in mid-motion.
The results were both fascinating and hilarious, prompting her to recruit other dogs (often rescues) into the project. The photos went viral on social media and a book deal was soon in the works. Not surprisingly, she’s often asked how she gets those amazing shots.
“All animals are different and you have to find what works with each one,” she told me. “Animals are very honest and intuitive,” she said. “They help us maintain a sense of humanity and let us hold on to that part of us that’s really valuable.”
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