I have been lucky to photograph some great dogs - I am not a photographer by profession and know very little about the technicalities of photography in general but I have always loved taking photos - just trying to capture a moment…
My interest in dog photography started when I was 13 - it was the breeder of our first bitch, Aud-Helen Kjeldsen (Topp-Form kennel in Norway) who inspired me as she was a keen amateur photographer and had her own darkroom equipment in a spare bedroom. I was already smitten by the outstanding beauty and grace of Collies and soon I wanted to try to capture what I saw in a photo... It also helped a great deal that Aud-Helen used to let me watch as she played around with the effects when she developed the photos and I was fascinated. She created some very interesting pictures and soon I wanted to be able to do this too.
My father let me have his old Canon camera which he no longer used and I dread to think how much film I wasted! Looking back I can see some pretty unimpressive photos that I took! I eventually also acquired some darkroom equipment and found this a great way to enhance the photos I took, which were getting better with some practice…
When I was first interested in Collies there were not many books around featuring Collies, in fact, I couldn’t find any so I went to the library in Oslo and borrowed some all breeds dog books and in two of these I found some photos. One was of a sable, it was a black/white photo and the dog was standing four square which I thought looked great - his stance was impressive. In the second book I was delighted to find 3 photos of Collies which were all from England. There was one photograph, in particular, that inspired me and I will always remember it as the ‘ultimate’ Collie photo, it certainly had me spellbound at the time. The photo was in colour if I remember correctly, of two Glenmist Collies (a male and a female) and they were standing in the countryside, relaxed, yet alert and this photo will always live on in my mind.
My camera went with me everywhere and I would take photos from the ringside and also ask breeders if I could photograph their dogs and gradually I ended up with some nicer photos.
The person who inspired me greatly in my early years, both with photography and also with regard to all aspects of Collies, was Mia Ejerstad. With fascination I used to watch her grooming and trimming her dogs, it was truly a work of art. Mia was very happy to teach me and I learnt a lot from her and Tomas (Rohlin). Mia and Tomas became very good friends and we had a lot of fun together - to older, more established breeders I think we were just some very annoying teenagers! Mia was very skilled (and still is!) as a dog photographer and handler and I learnt a lot from her - she was my role model!
Since living in England, I had even more opportunities to use my camera and collect photos of Collies... As a result of becoming a member of the British Collie Club and editing the handbook, I started photographing as many CC winners as possible. John printed some very nice leaflets on his computer for me and Barbara enrolled me onto a photography course at Newark College!
Pictured right is the beautiful Smooth bitch Ch Newarp Jesena Moonlight Sonata after winning BIS at The British Collie Club Ch Show 1996 and the coveted Collie Club Challenge Trophy - pictured below is the photo in the making.
For anyone who came to Corydon to have their photos taken (or for the dogs at home), we had a good 'system' - Miranda would handle and get the dogs set correctly (and having to interpret my instructions, I had to learn to say what I mean!) and Barbara was an expert attention catcher or John would find the cat or a bitch in season, whichever was needed.