Not too ruff

NORTH PERTH photographer Alex Cearns’ adorable dog photos have seen her selected for the “Day of the Dog” exhibit in Los Angeles.

Other tourists looked at her strangely when she waited outside the Taj Mahal to frame the perfect shot of a couple of street dogs playing near the landmark.

“They were playing and chasing and tumbling, they were oblivious to the humans and the Taj Mahal,” she says.

“I sat there for 20 minutes to half-an-hour to get the shot, they kept tumbling and running off… a local person came in and tried to shoo them away, thinking they were getting in the way of my Taj Mahal shot!”

An American tourist also observed with disbelief, “she’s at the Taj Mahal… and she’s photographing dogs.”

People always ask her how she gets the animals to sit still. She doesn’t: she just lets them do their thing and takes the photo when the moment is right, occasionally directing fuzzy snouts with a snack.

Her other photo selected was of Gizmo the papillon and Buzz the whippet, two dogs a client brought into her Houndstooth Studio in North Perth. It’s the perfect example of why an animal photographer has to be ready at just the right moment, as she snapped the pic with Gizmo giving Buzz a big lick.

• Alex Cearns with her pieces ‘Taj Mahal Dogs’ and ‘Buzz and ‘Gizmo’. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Alex Cearns with her pieces ‘Taj Mahal Dogs’ and ‘Buzz and ‘Gizmo’. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“That’s not something I could ever set up, that happens organically. They’re really good mates those two, but there were no other moments in the shoot where I could get that.”

Cearns got into photography in 2006 when digital cameras were becoming widespread. “I was looking for my thing: maybe I’m a writer, maybe I’m a soccer player. Turns out I’m neither.”

But photography seemed to work for her, and she noticed that in any shoot her lens would gravitate towards animals.

Since then her photography has taken her across the world, from snapping elephants and tigers and a rare African hedgehog in Cambodia to photographing a rare kangaroo in Queensland, whose unique genetic strain made him the last of his kind.

But she says dogs are still her favourite: “Dogs are fairly easy because they’re quite engaged with what’s going on, and because they’re agreeable and want to please.”

She’s soon to fly out to the Day of the Dog exhibit on August 26, and while there hopes to visit LA’s animal service shelters, which are a beneficiary of the exhibition.

by DAVID BELL

894 Terrace Hotel 9x2.3

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