The New Yorker Hotel
Feb 9, 2013
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: 24-105 f/4 Canon
Flash: Sunpak 622
Shutter Speed: 1/25
Focal Length: 38.0 mm
2012 was a hard year for me. I had graduated college, finished producing my first book, became a dog owner, and began working full-time for a magazine you see on just about every newsstand. With all these changes going on in my life, my mind was occupied with other things and I found myself in a photographic rut that was proving to be difficult to get out of.
We’ve all been there–the over dramatic “am I ever going to take a picture I like ever again?” When 2013 rolled around, I decided it had to end. I asked myself: What do YOU love? Instinctually I thought, my dog, obviously. Even though I was very busy, getting my dog Sasha was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I began to think about other like-minded individuals and how I could incorporate them into my own work. I turned to the Internet for help, and the first thing I found was the Doggies and Tiaras pageant, a beauty pageant for dogs run by award winning pet fashion designer Roberto Negrin. There was no doubt in my mind, I was photographing this event.
I decided to take a leap of faith and email Emily Shornick, photo editor for New York Magazine’s The Cut, to see if she had any interest in publishing the photos. I was 99% positive she would dismiss me as crazy–luckily enough, she didn’t. And so a few weeks later, I found myself at a hotel on 34th street surrounded by dogs wearing better outfits than I even had in my own wardrobe.
I felt overwhelmed, overstimulated, and unsure of where exactly to look first. A lavish hotel ballroom had been converted into a diva dogs playpen for the evening–I watched as dogs and their owners doted around in similar costumes around the venue. While yes, it was certainly fun and the dogs did enjoy it, you could absolutely sense the competitive energy in the air. It was a beauty pageant, after all.
I shot this image with a Canon Mark II with my Sunpak 622 held off to the side.
Making the Shot:
I saw Terry St. Angelo from afar, she was a tall, glamorous woman with golden hair holding a small, delicate chihuahua with a golden wig that mimicked her own hair. The small chihuahua was named Aspen, and let me tell you: Aspen loved being dressed up. I know there is certainly controversy about dressing dogs up as humans, but these dogs do not mind–you can tell that they enjoy the attention. Terry held Aspen up as if she was a trophy, and with a few quick snaps I was positive I had the right shot. Without question, this was one of my favorite photographs I made in 2013. It helped me believe in myself and my work after feeling uninspired for months.
Editing & Processing:
Very minimal editing. Mainly the square crop (I have been shooting square for years and I still see images this way), adjusting levels slightly, and enhancing color where necessary.
Looking back I wish I had photographed Terry separately from Aspen so I could put the two images next to each other.
I had a professor tell me not to photograph animals. He said to me, “Amy, you don’t want to be THAT photographer.” Honestly, fuck that. Photograph things you are passionate and curious about, even if it feels unpopular.
There wasn’t one particular inspiration for this. A few of my favorite photographers are Cindy Sherman and Barbra Crane, which I believe probably comes through in my work.
About the Photographer
Amy Lombard was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, PA. In 2008, she moved to New York to pursue her BFA in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, and is exhibiting work nationally and internationally.
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