Think about pulling your camera out once a day – EVERY day. How hard would it be to create a meaningful photo each and every day, even when you are dead tired? Lindsay Javit does just that. Her subject? Oliver! Ollie is a Jack Russell mix that is as crazy as can be, but he seems to relish being in front of Lindsay’s camera phone each day. Lindsay is creating Facebook and Instagram followers every day because everyone wants to see what she comes up with! Oliver has over 1000 global followers on Instagram.
Lindsay began photographing her beloved shelter dog when a good friend was in the hospital for an extended stay. Lindsay would capture Oliver each day to cheer up her friend. Soon, she realized that this dog, as hyper as he is, was a natural in front of the camera. She tried capturing him in different ways, and even began using costumes. She was bewildered at how wild he was UNTIL he got in front of her camera.
I caught up with Lindsay and Oliver recently to do a promo photo shoot and to talk to her about what got her started in her 365 project and what makes Oliver special.
When did you realize that Oliver had a gift in front of the camera? When I first started the DogADay project, I figured I would just take pictures of Oliver doing everyday dog things – sleeping, riding in the car, shopping at the pet store, going to training class, etc. One night, I slipped a pair of sunglasses on him. He leaned into the shot like he was ready for his Star on the Hollywood walk of fame! I thought I’d gotten a “once in a blue moon” kind of shot. The next night, I tried giant fuzzy eye brows as a joke. He sat so patiently for me. I even walked away for 5 minutes , and I came back to him waiting right where I left him, eyebrows in place. I was dumbstruck! I started looking up holidays and events and it took off from there. I really don’t think there is anything I could do that Ollie wouldn’t be up for. I have never had to walk away from a photo shoot without getting the shot. Considering Oliver is a very, very active terrier who is quite a handful, it’s pretty remarkable that he poses so well.
How do you determine your daily shot? Unless I am out of town or know I have something planned, Ollie and I create a set and shoot a picture every day. If I know I will not be available, I shoot before I leave and post while I’m away. I have two websites that I check often, Checkiday.com which lists commonly celebrated holidays, and Brownielocks.com which lists holidays, monthly, weekly or daily celebrations. Sometimes I get requests to do certain pictures, and sometimes we will do something dramatic that happened in the news that day. On the rare occasion that I have nothing scheduled, I will just dig through the costume bin or see what movies are premiering that week and pick a character. It’s rare I can’t think of something timely to create.
What is your favorite image? Every time I think I have my favorite picked, we take another picture that blows the others away. I think I have three top favorites: Star Wars [May 4th] because he got to play 4 characters and he nailed every one. Superman [April 28th] is another favorite because he was watching a squirrel run across the yard and in that moment he looks like he really could fly if he jumped off the cliff he was on. And the Apollo 13 Launch [April 11th] is another favorite because he just looks so darn serious in that shot and he put his paw on the podium all by himself totally capturing the seriousness of the picture. [you can see that image below.]
Your most challenging? One challenging day was Clownin’ Around [March 28th]. It took us two weeks to work on keeping the clown nose ON his nose instead of IN his mouth. The costume was the simplest costume I’d ever done but the patience and practice was what took the most time. I don’t know if I could ever get him to do it again! The other shot that was a disaster was No Dirty Dishes Day. Oliver is NOT a fan of bubbles! I knew it needed the bubbles because it’s the details and props that make his pictures so funny. I had help blowing bubbles while I tried to snap the shot. It took about 12-15 shots that night to get a decent picture, when most of the time, it takes us 1-3 shots to get it.
Do you plan to do anything with your collection at the end of the year? After we are done for the year I’m going to see how things end. If I feel like we have completed the project, I will probably stop. I’m fortunate right now that my schedule allows me to take his pictures every night. In a few months I know that’s going to change and I will have other things to plan for, so time allowing, we will see. If anything, I would probably turn the project into a once a week type thing ~ it would be hard to not repeat holidays and events. Plus, he has a following and I wouldn’t want to upset his fans! I have had requests for photo books and a calendar from random strangers so I’m considering that. I think he would make a great coffee table type book! For myself, I would love to set up a wall collage type of display and I definitely want to create a photo book to preserve the project.
Loyal readers, you do NOT want to miss Ollie’s daily photos. You can follow Oliver on Instagram at Instagram.com/tales_with_a_tail and Facebook at Facebook.com/taleswithatail. Please post a little love to Oliver! Personally, seeing Lindsay and Oliver’s daily creations is one of my highlights every day! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud at his photos.
Here are a few of the images from our in studio portrait session. Oliver may be crazy and hyper, but his reputation in front of the camera is intact – he was perfectly still, posed and regal looking every time my camera was aimed at him.