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I chose photography. I like to think animals chose me.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel a deep love for animals, and all my life, animals have seemed to seek me out. A nudge against my leg to say hello; the shy trust of a timid soul or enthusiastic greeting of the more boisterous. So when I decided I wanted to be a photographer, I knew who my subjects would be.

My dad showed me how to use a camera as a child, teaching me the basics, like when to adjust the shutter speed or prioritise aperture, as well as how to ‘play through the lens'. Dad inspired a love of photography that shaped the way I saw things. Much later in life, a photographer friend taught me how to develop my eye for situations and scenes and how to stage a photograph. I was hooked, but it was a beautiful black Labrador puppy called Raven that sealed the deal. You can’t get great photos of a black dog, people told me. They just absorb all the light. I proved them wrong. Raven radiated light.

When I start shooting I trust my intuition and follow my heart. I prefer to shoot with a telephoto lens, as the physical distance gives the animal freedom. This way, the camera can seek out not only their physical beauty, but their unique and expressive personalities. Photographing animals in this way — capturing truly candid moments — is what brings me the most joy. 

It probably goes without saying that I have always had pets in my life. Right now I share my home in Melbourne with two gorgeous cats, Ben and Emma.

Ben in particular has taught me a lot about patience. A rescue cat, he was shy and very cautious for a long time. But we took things slowly, learning each other’s language and establishing trust.

It’s the same with a photo shoot. Moving at their pace, and on their level, is vital to establishing the unique connection that will give you authentic, relatable images of the pet you love, whatever their personality.

Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

— Anatole France

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Christine made us and the dogs feel so comfortable and relaxed. The boy's photo shoot was so much fun and the images capture the heart and soul of Rocco and Bruno. Christine's images capture the boys in a way that shows their nature like my photos have never been able to.

- Kent Burgess, Melbourne

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