Photographer Justin Parsons takes thoughtful, timeless dog portraits that resonate unconditional love and the substance of man’s best friend.
Visual storytellers, photographs capture moments in time. They arouse emotions, evoke memories, inspire, anger, and elicit Amens. From the mundane to the spectacular, photojournalists use images to historically solidify decisive moments. Artists employ the medium of photography for self-expression
and creativity. Social media snapshots graphically make a statement, induce solidarity, inject humor or points to ponder. Individuals take pictures to record events, places, and subjects significant to them. Dog owners take pictures of dogs because their canine companion is more than a pet; they are family members. Articulating how our dogs have earned our love and respect is challenging at best. To photograph the intrinsic value of their contribution to our lives is near impossible. Photographer and owner of Splootin Studio, Justin Parsons takes “classic, timeless, and personal portraits for those who believe their dog is not just a pet but a family member.” His portraits havea panache for authentically capturing a dog’s character one click at a time.
Parsons, an Air Force photojournalist, chronicles the lives and wartime efforts of the United States Air Force’s servicemen and women. On off days, he moonlights with his wife, Lauren (also a military photojournalist) photographing weddings and elopements. Their studio, justinandlauren.co, specializes in telling a journey through candid moments. He and his wife talk shop a good deal. One conversation centered around his fascination for pet photography. Being the proud parent of a pocket Pitbull, Oakley, and an English bulldog, Luna, the notion of telling their stories through the lens was compelling. Prompted by a challenge from his wife, Parsons made a makeshift studio in his living room, corralled “the girls” and started shooting. Frame by frame, he captured their nuances. Documenting each distinctive characteristic ignited an artistic sense of self and style he wanted to share with others.
“Our relationship with our pets is the rawest form of love that wecan experience. They have no ulterior motives, no intent to deceive, just loyalty and love. Each has a unique personality that will forever live in your mind long after they have left your side.”
For Parsons, photography is not just a job, it’s a way of life. It’s his profession, hobby, and passion. He holds one-hour sessions at his studio located on the basement level of the Public Works Art Center in Summerville. They begin with a meet- and-greet outside of the Arts Center; then progress to the studio. In the studio, he lets the dog inspect the surroundings. While they are sniffing every corner, Parsons keeps his presence to a minimum and allows the dog to approach him while he assesses their disposition. He reiterates that the dog dictates the session. If they are shy or nervous, he spends more time making them feel at ease. Once the dog is comfortable, the photoshoot begins. One of his first clients, co-worker, Kathryn Miller, reveals,
“The patience and adeptness Justin displayed photographing my dogs was amazing. His gift to hold their attention long enough to capture their mannerisms is exceptional. I am thankful for his immortalization of my furry babies. His portraits communicate their meaning in my life and the time we have spent together. I am forever grateful.”
Seasoned to view the world through a lens, Parsons’ dog portraits transcend the ordinary; they capture what dog owners see and feel every day. Parsons’ finished work speaks volumes for his aesthetic acumen. His photojournalism experience taught him to portray the subtleties of life embedded in the ticks of time. For the casual observer, Parsons’ portraits elicit a shared familiarity. They bear witness to the dog’s spirit, universally memorializing an intrinsic value for all to see. For the owner, his photographs visually work in concert with memories. They are tangible reminders of the special place their canine companion holds in their hearts. Polished and sophisticated, Parsons’ work is a testimony of unconditional love and friendship to be treasured for a lifetime. AM