While writing about creative pet photographer Serenah, I discovered that we didn’t know that much about her. Though she has a superb collection of adorable dog portraits, I was curious about her background. How long has she been shooting for and who are the other photographers she’s inspired by? Lucky for us, we got in touch with Serenah (or Serena Hodson), who was kind enough to answer these questions and more. Read our exclusive interview with her below, after enjoying a few more of her wonderfully whimsical portraits.
How long have you been shooting animals?
I’ve always had a keen interest in photography and used to take my little point ‘n’ shoot everywhere I took my dogs, then about four years ago I started taking it seriously.
How would you describe each of your three dogs?
Rocco was definitely my muse. He started this all for me. This boy had a heart of gold and was always there for me. He had the patience of a saint. Ralph, who’s not actually my dog, he belongs to my sister. I nab him for photos because he loves the attention, which makes him wonderful to shoot with. Ralph is a very serious little man. He’s all about perfection and is ruled by greed, which makes him very easy to manipulate with food rewards – he’s a photographer’s dream. And Simon is pure comedy. He’s not too quick on the uptake, but luckily he’s a dog (and dogs don’t need to be brilliant). He’s pretty happy-go-lucky and doesn’t throw his weight around as much as he could.
What’s been your most popular picture and why do you think that is?
Ralph in the shopping trolley is my most popular image so far. (First photo, here.) I think people connect with it because it tells a little story. People can relate to the underdog who dreams big. And the idea of a little dog that sees himself as a brave daredevil is an endearing character…and it’s a bit of fun, people appreciate anything that makes them smile.
Who are the other pet photographers are you inspired by?
My biggest inspiration has and will always be my dogs. They bring my ideas. But the photographers that I love are William Wegman and Elliot Erwitt.
How would you describe your style?
That’s a tricky one to answer, I’m not trying to emulate an established style or consciously create a defined style of my own. I basically follow my creative intuition and shoot the ideas that interest me. I have an offbeat sense of humor and I’m obsessed with my animals – so that dictates my subject matter. But with a background as a graphic designer, my visual style has evolved over time and be influenced by so many things, it’s hard for me to put a label on it.
What’s the one question you get asked the most?
“How do you get your dogs’ expressions so perfect?”
What are some tips you could give to those that want to creatively photograph their pet?
Think outside the square. Practice your techniques. And most importantly, keep it fun for the animal.
Thanks for the interview, Serena! Love your incredibly unique pet portraits.