b. docktor photographer
B and John Boy photo by Benita Kenn at Ashokan
B. Docktor photographer interview by Harryet Candee
Harryet Candee: Hi B! How in the world do you capture dogs and animals so well? I find it terribly difficult to make my dogs stay still for anything, B. Is it your conversations you have with them prior? Is it the camera you use? The animals you photograph seem to connect with you. B. Docktor: Great questions! When I am photographing any living being, I feel very concentrated and in-the-moment, and I believe the animals get a sense of my being focused on them. Your question about prior conversations makes me laugh. I do not have prior conversations, and I’m not a constant talker. I feel with animals, and dogs especially, that capturing their movement is essential to showing how they are. I love to move, myself, and I love to watch movement, and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of capturing movement. Mostly, I try not to ask the dogs to stay still because it’s their action that I most want to capture. Yes, it is hard! It takes a camera
12 • MARCH 2016 THE ARTFUL MIND
that can focus fast, and it takes a lot of practice. I practice with my own dog, John Boy, a lot. I’ll throw the stick lefty and shoot righty. We’d be a funny subject of a little film, actually. This is me at right with my oldest brother Mark on the patio at our house in the woods In general, I think much of my success with animals is being agile and quick B: My father illustrated over 100 books during the myself, and being ready. I’ve learned that the farm 1950s and early ‘60s. He did a bunch of children’s animals are most curious when I first arrive, so I need books and my brothers and I sometimes modeled for to get out of the car with my camera ready. (The him. As Norman Rockwell did, he would set us up Coach Farm Goat Family Portrait is a good example and photograph us, and do his illustrations from these photos. We had a very cramped darkroom in our of this.) boiler room, and I got to see the magic of prints being B, you certainly send out this strong energy of the developed when I was three or four years old. I had love you have for nature. I am wondering, what no interest or talent in drawing, but photography atbrought you to choosing photography as your tracted me. I remember when I was little, going to my mother’s prime medium for artistic interpretation?