A week ago, I had the pleasure of photographing the three dogs owned by Ruth Price of the Jazz Bakery. It was a wonderful, once-in-a-life time experience and I’d like to share it and some photos with all of you. Click on any image below to bring up a larger version.
I’m constantly searching for interesting personalities and their dogs to photograph. At the end of March I saw a photo of Ruth Price in an LA Times article in which she was holding a dog. I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in having me do a photo session with her dogs. I was ecstatic when she said “yes!” As a dog AND music lover, this is the type of rare opportunity that I crave for and simply cannot pass up. Otis & Lucy moved into its currently location – just a block from the former Jazz Bakery location – shortly after the Bakery lost its lease. I didn’t get a chance to visit the Bakery while it was there. So I was VERY excited to finally have a chance to meet Ruth.
I rang the door bell at Ruth’s home and was immediately greeted with 3 dogs not much more than ankle high but with barks and personalities as big as my Labrador’s. Alfy is a long haired Dachshund with an easy going personality; he’s the quietest of the bunch. Possum is a rescued Pomeranian so named because when Ruth first saw him he was in such bad shape he actually looked more like a possum. He’s the loud one. Pork Chop is a Chihuahua mix with an assortment of neurological conditions, rescued from Taiwan (and coincidentally that’s where I was born). Pork Chop can’t hear, has trouble holding his head up straight when you pick him up, and likes to spin around in circles (but only to the right) when you put him down. But he’s adapted well to Ruth’s pack and not much seems to bother him. Ruth’s love and devotion to these dogs is immediately apparent as the house is arranged pretty much around the dogs’ needs; with dog beds and toys in every room and every corner of the house.
The photo shoot started with Possum on the kitchen counter, where he (who looks nothing like a possum any more) is accustomed to hanging out, both at home AND when he’s at the Jazz Bakery. He was more than happy to pose for us in exchange for some treats and affection. We got lots of great shots while Ruth, Alfy and Pork Chop looked on from the living room. We then got Alfy up on the counter for a few shots as well. In case you couldn’t tell by now: the dogs OWN the house. You wouldn’t usually expect dogs on too many kitchen counters. But this isn’t just any house. This is Alfy, Possum and Pork Chop’s house. Pork Chop couldn’t be on the counter because he’d probably fall off due to lack of balance. Otherwise I’m sure he’d have loved to pose on the counter too. Although telling people that I photographed a Pork Chop on a kitchen counter will probably draw a few strange looks.
Next the shoot moved to one of the bedrooms where there’s a window seat with gorgeous natural lighting. The dogs took turns hanging out by the window. I really loved the lighting in this room. The large window with greeneries outside provided just the perfect level of backlight. No need to set up the studio lights here, and the dogs were only too happy to pose without the distraction of the strobes.
We then did some more shots in the spare bedroom, where one of many sets of dog beds were set up in the house. Of course being the fair Mom that Ruth is, all the dogs have identical beds and are laid out side-by-side. So sets of three identical dog beds are in just about every room in the house. The dogs were a little tired by this point (modeling IS hard work) so we quickly finished up the shoot in this room and I followed the dogs around for a few more minutes around the house for some “candids” before packing things up.
Before leaving, I tried to pry some information about the new Jazz Bakery location out of Ruth. But no such luck. All she would say is that a new location is in the works, it’s on the West Side and she hopes a deal can be closed soon. I’m VERY happy to hear that, even though I was hoping for more detailed information.
I loved photographing Alfy, Possum and Pork Chop. I would have loved to spend more time photographing them if Ruth and I both had the time. So I’ve invited Ruth to bring the dogs in to the studio sometime for some studio shots. I have a few ideas for some really fun photos of the dogs posing with various jazz instruments. Ruth thinks Alfy should play the double bass, and I think that’s a great idea! Should be a really fun session. I can’t wait!
Next time you visit the Jazz Bakery, you just may recognize the little dogs hanging out and greeting you on the counter as you walk in. Be sure to say “hi” to them. Tell them that Andy, their personal photographer, sent you.