Tonight I had a bit of a fan-boy moment. A week ago a friend on Facebook let me know that Art Wolfe was going to be doing a presentation in Tacoma, Washington and there was nothing that was going to keep me from going to see that! The presentation was about a series of dog images he’d been shooting over the past couple of decades from all over the world called “Dogs Make Us Human” which is now available as a collaborative book by bestselling animal writer Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

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The evening’s talk was attended by roughly 200 people at Tacoma Public Library and the tone was much like that of a group of friends hanging around someone’s living room while looking at a new acquaintance’s photo album: very casual, relaxed, and peppered with funny and spontaneous off-the-wall comments. The collection of images was highly variable from cultural images of different people from around the world, children of many different tribes posing with their pets, close-up “personality” portraits of different breeds, to comparisons of how we keep (and dress) our pets here in the West.

Art Wolfe ~ Tacoma, Washington

Β It was an evening that for me personally was full of new insights, inspiration, and a jolting recharge of ideas and creativity. I was so mesmerized by the images, colors, compositions, and stories that the building could have fallen down around us and I wouldn’t have even noticed. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from tonight’s presentation was in just seeing how a great photographer puts together a fully-rounded collection of work that in itself tells a story. Afterward, I even had a chance to shake his hand and have a brief conversation with him. His words, descriptions, and side-stories just put everything into perspective and took all of us on the most wonderful journey around the world on a dark and chilly Tacoma night!

Rich Leighton
November, 3, 2011