Here at DC Refined we are visual lovers. We work with an incredible photographer who wows us on a daily basis with the way she showcases the city. But we are constantly searching for other visual artists whose work will take our breath away and just scratch that itch -- what can I say, we just love photos! And today, we are straight up middle school crushing on Carina Thornton, the genius behind Fuzzypants Pet Photography.
We stumbled upon Carina's work one day on Facebook and found ourselves lost for hours in her world of adorable puppies and kittens -- yes, Carina definitely tapped into our biggest weakness with that one! Now a days, anyone can snap a pic of their pet and post it on Facebook, and you know what? We will probably aw over it and like it. But Carina isn't just snapping meaninglessly-- she's found a way to capture the hearts and emotions of these animals and portray them in such a relatable way that you forget you are looking at the portrait of a four-legged friend.
So with that, we're gonna turn the mic over to the talent here. ... Take it away Carina!
Give us some background -- how'd you get into photography?
I feel like I've always had a camera in my hand! There is just something that always fascinated me about freezing a moment in time and reliving it over and over. As far as the inspiration for pet photography, I owe all of that to my rescue kitty, Samwise. Sammy taught me that there are so many amazing animals out there and they should all have their moment in the spotlight!
When did you pick up your first camera and what was it?
I'm really going to date myself here but my first camera was a Kodak Ektralight 100 that had those neat little disposable flash cubes. Thankfully, I upgraded to a Contax SLR in time for college.
What is your camera of choice today?
Today I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, though I do miss spending hours in the darkroom with rolls and rolls of film. I have several lenses but my three favorite are my Canon 50mm f/1.4, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, and Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.
What’s your favorite type of photography?
I love street photography - those spontaneous, perfectly-timed images that tell a whole story in a single frame. I tend to be an observer rather than a participant when I'm in public places so I am amazed when someone can anticipate - and react to - the perfect moment to click the shutter. Diane Arbus, Elliot Erwitt, and of course, the incomparable Henri Cartier-Bresson are very familiar names for fans of street photography.
How did you become interested in pet photography?
My rescue cat helped me through some really tough times so I wanted to help bring awareness to the wonderful dogs and cats that were sitting in shelters waiting for homes. I wanted people to see how happy and playful and perfect they would be once given their chance to shine.
What photo are you most proud of?
The beautiful eyes of the black lab (her name is Georgia) that is on the front page of my website. Black dogs and cats are typically the last to be adopted but the gentle, soulful eyes in that image have the power to help change any negative perception.
Coolest or most memorable experience while shooting?
I was in business for less than a year when I was asked to do my first magazine cover. I remember being completely terrified at the time but even now I still love the image and have done 12 covers since then. The best part is that the covers for the Virginia-Maryland-Washington D.C. Dog magazine have all featured dogs in need of adoption and they've all found homes shortly after the issues were released. I love being a part of that.
What’s at the top of your photography bucket list?
Since I live in Ashburn, it's not unusual to see Redskins around town occasionally. Kirk Cousins and his wife, Julie made the news when they fostered from a local rescue (FOHA) so I'd love to photograph them and their dogs!
Where are your five favorite places to photograph in the DMV area?
There are so many great choices and I always ask the family if their pet has a favorite spot, but I love Morven Park in Leesburg, Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville and Lake Anne in Reston.
Any advice for aspiring photographers?
Stay true to your vision, understand that you are your only competition, and have a really clear "why" because it will drive everything else that you do.
What’s one of your hobbies outside of photography?
Running! I won't be winning any Olympic medals any time soon but a nice long run as the sun is rising really clears my head. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014 and I'm looking forward to the Army 10 Miler in October.
What’s your motto to live by?
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." It's always good to break out of your comfort zone!
Pretty great answers, right? Now scroll back up to the top to peep the pics. (And prepare for a lot of "awwww"ing! )