The Office Dogs Project- The Backstory

English Bulldog puppy at Trupanion in Seattle.
Trupanion CEO executive assistant

If you are here, it means you find the concept of dog-friendly workplaces compelling, interesting or exciting in some way, which is great, because so do I!

First- a brief introduction, for those who are new to my business and blog. In this post I’ll go through the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the project.

WHO:

My name is Jamie Piper, and I’m a commercial animal photographer based in San Diego California. I own Cowbelly Photography, a business I launched in Seattle back in 2003.

I create images of dogs, cats, and people with animals, for commercial and editorial clients, as well as provide stock images to publishers. My clients include Pedigree, PetSafe, Nutro, Frontline, Purina, Freshpet, Workman Publishing, Brilliance Publishing and more. I also wrote a reference book on pet photography.

You can follow me on Instagram here: @cowbelly. Facebook here. Twitter here.

WHAT:

A personal photography project that captures ‘dog employees’ at work in offices and other workplaces, and shows what life is like when your workplace happens to include furry friends.

In addition to the photography, I interview each company about what it’s like to be pet-friendly, what challenges they had becoming pet-friendly, funny stories and other interesting information.

WHEN:

I started doing the shoots in October 2016, and started publishing them in February 2017.

This will be a long-term, ongoing project.

You can expect a new company to be introduced here on this blog every two weeks.

‘Doggie deck’. 17th floor of Doppler building at Seattle’s Amazon HQ.

WHERE:

A variety of different companies/businesses, from pet-service or product companies to tech companies and everything in between.

Starting in Seattle, then San Diego, then (TBD) Los Angeles and San Francisco. If I can secure sponsorship I’d love to shoot in more cities around the U.S., as there are some very interesting businesses in other parts of the country that are super dog-friendly.

HOW:

Simple.

Just me, one camera body (Nikon D810), and one lens (Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art).

No:

  • flashes
  • lights
  • assistants
  • treats
  • toys
  • noisemakers
  • or anything else

Just me and my camera, photographing dog ’employees’ at work, being as quiet and unobtrusive as I can possibly be while ‘army-crawling’ on the floor under a stranger’s desk.

This project is entirely self-directed and self-funded.

Any limitations are due to my own time and budget.

The office dogs lined up for peanut butter at Brand Verity.

WHY:

Internal reasons:

To stretch my creative muscles, experiment, try something new and challenge myself in a way that I often can’t on commissioned shoots because there’s too much on the line.

If you clicked on one of the links above to check out my work, you can see that it’s bright and colorful and engaging and filled with joy, and has a thread of humor woven through the body of work as a whole. I am usually interacting with my subjects and getting them engaged with me, and (by default) my camera lens. Shooting between 20mm-24mm at f/2.8 is my favorite/default setting.

In contrast, the Office Dogs Project is filled with photojournalistic-style, ‘fly-on-the-wall’ images where I am intentionally not interacting with my subjects. It’s very different from how I normally work, and it’s actually quite difficult to get the dogs to ignore me, mostly because I love them so much.

External reasons:

I’m in the very lucky group of people who get to work with their dog every day. I have had this luxury for the past 11 years, and I can’t imagine having a job where I could’t have my constant companion by my side.

It is my sincere wish for all companies who desire to become pet-friendly to do so, to provide this incredible benefit to their employees. To see how incredibly rewarding, fulfilling, and even life-changing this perk can be for their employees, and how much it can improve on a company’s bottom line. (Hint- it’s an awesome way to attract great talent when hiring!).

If this project influences the decision of companies to ‘go dog-friendly’ in some small way, then I consider it a rousing success.

Enjoy!

 

Sublime Media’s newest ‘canine coworker’ getting a midday head scratch from his dad.

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