Jan. 2, 2014 at 3:53 PM ET
Some New York photographers make a career by snapping photos of fashionistas on the streets of the city, but Elias Weiss Friedman chose a different kind of model to put in front of his lens.
After noticing his animal photos were getting more attention than the other shots on his Instagram account, the Brooklyn photographer set out to snap more eye-catching pooches, like those seen running through Central Park or enjoying a nice stroll down Fifth Avenue.
"There’s something very humbling about the candidness of a dog’s face,” Friedman told TODAY.com. “I think dogs inspire us to be more honest with ourselves.”
“When I hand owners my Dogist card, that often sparks a whole display of tricks and 'Look what he can do’s,' Friedman said. “It brings people great joy knowing someone thinks their dog is beautiful, and that the haircut and plaid dog coat they just spent money on wasn’t in vain.”
And his new routine has led him to add a few new tools to his kit: “I’ve learned to wear knee pads and carry a squeak toy,” he said.
The project took on even more meaning when he photographed Pudding, a rescue pit bull mix he met in Tompkins Square Park, who had been a victim of breeding abuse and had a scarred face.
“The pose she struck was stoic and beautiful, like she wanted the world to see her,” Friedman said, who admitted he teared up when he posted the photo. “The project had suddenly become about more than dog pictures: My photos could tell a story about a dog’s life."
And while New York City offers plenty of material for his project, Friedman hopes to travel the world photographing dogs in action.
“I’d like to travel in search of dogs hunting, sledding, guiding, rescuing,” he said. “A goal of mine is to photograph the President’s dog, Bo, on the White House lawn. That would be something.”