Wednesday Woofs {No. 04}

August 10, 2011 § 8 Comments

It feels like decades have gone by since our last ‘Wednesday Woofs’ edition! For those who have yet to be acquainted with ‘Wednesday Woofs’, this is a special segment in which we feature an interview with a newly discovered blogger and their furry pawpal(s).

When I first stumbled upon the website, PUPARAZZA, I knew immediately that this was one unique blog that required some friendly interrogation. Who is the person behind the camera of PUPARAZZA? Where does this puparazza find her fashionably cute subjects? And how can a celebrity-wannabe like Miss Maple be ‘caught’ on film? Enquiring minds want to know!

In this week’s ‘Wednesday Woofs’ article, we will learn a little bit about Ryan Hebert, the Atlanta Georgian behind PUPARAZZA and a very talented professional photographer with her own smashing portfolio of fashion and interior design shoots. I hope you’ll enjoy reading snippets of our interview and be inspired to hone your own paparazza, I mean, puparazza skills!

* * * * *

The idea of a tail-chasing paparazzo following hot on the paws of some very fashionable four-legged human companions is ingenious. What was the inspiration or motivation behind PUPARAZZA?

My partner has her own dog walking business, Britt Walks Dogs, and we thought it would be fun if we joined forces. I enjoy blogging and thought why not make a doggy style blog, like the satorialist, but of our four-legged friends. As for the name of the blog, a female paparazzo is a paparazza. So take away pap, add pup, and there ya go!

It takes a fair amount of courage and confidence to approach a complete stranger and request a photo of their dog, without appearing like a suspicious dog-napper! How do you handle such encounters and develop a friendly rapport with the people and dogs that you meet?

Courage, not so much but good running shoes yes! It usually involves me running across the street, to catch up with an adorable or fashionable pup.  The funniest example I have of this was when I spotted Reid Ewing from the TV show Modern Family with his dog. 

I pulled a U-turn, parked illegally and ran over to him panting like a race horse (bet you thought I was going to say dog haha). We had a nice conversation. He was very gregarious and very much in love with his adorable little rescue dog, Racky. As for developing a friendly rapport, I have always enjoyed interacting with complete strangers which is good since I am a photographer. My favorite author, David Sedaris, puts it best, “I always depend on the kindness of strangers.”

Four-leggers are not the only subject of interest in your diverse portfolio of work. As a photographer, what other projects have you taken on and what has been your favorite shoot so far? 

My biggest passion in life is traveling, immersing myself in new places, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures. I  love shooting all kinds of people and subcultures. The photos I am most proud of are a series I did of refugee women that I volunteer teaching English to from the International Rescue Committee, a resettlement organization here in Atlanta. Currently, I am editing some photos from a trip I took to Nicaragua.  While I was there, I shot some photos of adoptable dogs for an organization called Building New Hope that, among other services, runs a health clinic for street animals to alleviate their suffering and to curb their population. The facility provides a much needed community health service by reducing dog bites, rabies, parasites and flea and tic infestation. Check them out.  They are always accepting volunteers!

Your career involves quite a bit of travel to different places and locales. Is there any one particular city that has impressed you with its dog-friendly environment and fashion-forward pooches?

I find myself in Venice Beach, California, a lot for photo shoots and the pups there, like their ‘handlers,’ are very fashion-forward and seem to set the trends for the rest of us. 

I also recently went to the Castro District in San Francisco and have never seen so many doggies and babies in my life. It is like a doggie/baby wonderland. It seems like a really great place to raise a family. It is incredibly dog-friendly, community-oriented, and progressive.

You and your partner have a 5-year old rescue dog named Tully. Tell us a little more about how Tully entered your lives.

My partner adopted Tully from the rescue group, Animal Action Rescue, in Atlanta. (As she says, “It was love at first sight. He’s the only man I’ll ever love.”) Just last week we went to Pet Smart to pick up a new leash for Tully before a hike and fell in love with another rescue, a 1-year-old miniature version of Tully. Needless to say we went for a leash and left with a new addition to our family. 

Her name is Foxy and she is the sweetest thing ever. She is almost perfect. Her only annoying habit is that she has commandeered this one specific throw pillow that used to go on our bed. She enjoys humping it much more than we ever enjoyed using it as a frivolous bed decoration so we have relinquished it to her.

If Tully could direct a photo shoot for a travel advertisement, which one of these destinations would he choose:

(a) A rustic log cabin that extends out onto a pristine freshwater lake surrounded by aromatic pine trees and snow-capped mountains.

(b) A villa resort on a tropical island oasis with beaches made of fine sand and palm trees that sway to the sound of ocean waves.

(c) A picturesque little town where thatched-roof cottages, cobble-stoned streets, and rolling hills evoke a sense of old-world charm.

(d) A modern-chic cafe on a bustling city street at night set against glittering glass skyscrapers and bright neon lights.

Hmmm that’s a hard one.  It is a toss up between (a) and (b), Tully looooves water. I think I am going to have to go with (a) though because I’ve never met a squirrel that lives on a tropical island. 

* * * * *

Thank you, Ryan, for such a fun and insightful interview! We hope to see more of your photographic encounters with the four-legged fashionistas of the canine world. Meanwhile, Lil’ Miss Maple will carry on wishfully thinking that one fine day she is going to grace the cover of Doggie Vogue 😉

All images have been re-published with permission from Ryan Hebert.

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