If you aren’t oohing, ahhing, or drooling over his drop-dead gorgeous photography and inspiring canine subjects, then you’ve at least heard of him, right? No? Well, you’re way behind the dog curve my friend!
Allow me to introduce you to Elias Weiss Friedman, the photographer, talent and creative mind behind The Dogist. The Dogist, manned completely by Elias, is a street style photo-documentary series devoted to capturing the beauty of dogs.
Yep, you heard me right. He roams the streets taking photos of dogs for a living. Jealous yet?
Corporate layoffs landed Elias working with friends among the startup scene where he became inspired to take on his own creative project. Making use of his knack for photography, he turned his lens to the dogs.
Aside from being a talented photographer and artist, Elias said he’s “always had a whacky sense of humor and thought portraiture of dogs was one of the funniest, most sarcastic ideas ever.” He ran with the idea and got his start interviewing dogs for a show called Barking at Dogs. After realizing people were only interested in the dogs, The Dogist took form. And while the Dogist has an element of formality to it, Elias “still finds it hilarious.”
What’s equally as impressive is that he’s only been at this since October 2013. “The Dogist has gotten a lot of traction in the last 7 months and has a promising trajectory,” Elias told us. He’s currently developing the business and making ends meet by “doing typical artist work like selling prints and doing private photo shoots” in addition to receiving donations from people who want to see the project grow.
It doesn’t end there. “Things are just getting started; I want to be the definitive dog photographer.” Though Elias is looking forward to working on fun and creative ways of licensing the brand – a book, a partnership or collaboration – his favorite aspect of what he does is still photographing dogs. “Shooting days are the best days,” he says.
The Early Days: Elias, Photography & Dogs
Growing up with two labs and a B&W darkroom in his home means Elias and his family were no strangers to photography or dogs. Elias was able to combine his passions as he told us, “I’ve been photographing all types of things (including dogs) for years.”
One of his fondest childhood memories took place with his family dogs in the summer. Elias tells us, “There was this beach down the road that we dubbed ‘Dog Beach.’ Whenever the dogs would escape, we would find them there swimming. Retrieving the retrievers will always be a fond memory for me.”
Photographing dogs is something Elias has been able to perfect over years of practice, but he offers up some advice for aspiring fur parents and photographers alike. “My best piece of advice for photographing dogs is to DO IT. Seriously, that’s the biggest problem when it comes to (good) photography. You have to do it all the time. For every image I post, there are 200+ images that get pushed to the floor. Do the math and start there. The rest is refinement, a la fast cameras & lenses, balanced light, and a special moment.”
Barring good equipment and tons of practice, we think there’s still something magical about the way a dog photographs. Elias agrees. “Dogs make great portrait subjects because of their expressiveness. The candor in their face tells the viewer so much.” Combine that with social media and we have a recipe for success. “Animals have always been popular as artistic subjects. Social media is just a faster, wider-reaching medium through which to share it!”
We dug deeper to find out what aspect of dogs Elias admires and loves so dearly. He told us, “I’ve always loved the way dogs freely express themselves. They’re concerned with only a few primitive things in life and I always admired and admittedly aspired to be as carefree,” something we at Primal Pooch can certainly attest to.
What the Future Holds for The Dogist
We’ve always been huge fans of The Dogist, but it wasn’t until we saw some stunning photos of dogs in action up at Saranac Lake, NY that we knew we needed to learn more.
We’re happy to share that Elias has big plans for the future! He envisions traveling to all kinds of places and featuring all varieties of dogs doing different, amazing and unique things. He’s said, “While NYC will always be home base and given enough support from my audience, I would go to the farthest corner of the world to capture dogs doing things they would never see otherwise.”
Elias looks forward to spending more time capturing dogs doing different activities outside of their daily strolls on the streets of NYC. He plans to travel the world in search of dogs in action and wants to photograph dogs hunting, sledding, guiding, rescuing, and more. He tells us, “International travel is absolutely on the agenda. I won’t give any specifics, but The Dogist will be going for a ride in the near future.”
It’s always wonderful to meet someone who shares our admiration for adventurous, active and interesting dogs. “Dogs are capable of incredible things, it’s true. However, most owners utilize dogs as pets only. It’s my challenge as a documentarian to find and connect with the right owners who are doing something special with their dogs,” he tells us.
When asking about the role his fans and followers play in The Dogist, Elias says “fans are what make the whole project possible and inspiring as an artist.” “I’ve had a ton of support and encouragement from strangers all over the world” and we only hope that can continue. He shares, “I have a very adventurous spirit and indeed would travel to crazy places to find special dogs. I need to develop The Dogist as a business before I can pursue that fully, but there’re plenty of fantastic stories well within reach.”
What do you think? If you’re a fan of Elias’s work, then give The Dogist some love and consider donating to the project so Elias can travel the world in search of some of the most amazing Primal Pooches around the globe.