ARTS & CULTURE

Sylvia Elzafon's Incredible Shelter Dog Series (PHOTOS)

05/03/2012 08:53 am ET

For the past two months, Sylvia Elzafon, a photographer based in Dallas, has been working with local animal shelters in order to create cute and compelling images of their adoptable dogs. Elzafon reached out to us, and we interviewed her via e-mail about her life and mission. Scroll down for images of the adorable pups.

Image courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon Photography.

HP: How long have you been working as a professional photographer?

SE: I have been shooting professionally since 2005, but my love for photography really blossomed when I was in middle school when I received my first camera as a gift. I decided to pursue photography as a career because I couldn't imagine devoting my life and time to anything else and feeling so whole, and "at home" doing it. Combining my love of photography and animals is truly the ultimate path for me.

HP: What artists or photographers have been influencing you lately?

SE: In terms of artists who've inspired me lately -- I have a few!

HP: How and why did you begin this animal series?

SE:I began my original shelter series in 2005, because I saw the need for a message. This message was: Why are you breeding animals, or buying animals, when so many of these wonderful, beautiful dogs and cats are dying in shelters every day? People were really beginning to acknowledge the need for education and action in the shelter world. The original series was focused on evoking emotion in people, which it did. The images were dark, heavy, and meant to address a huge problem while showing the audience that these shelters really are sad places for companion animals.

My current headshot series brings attention to these incredible dogs in a different light. Instead of feeling sadness and despair, the overall reaction has been extremely positive. People are laughing -- hard. They're seeing the huge personality of these shelter dogs through the images. I've had a couple of friends tell me that, although they're not "dog people", the photos make them consider adopting one! In other words, this series is reaching people in a really fun and positive way. Though the dark and heavy images are still very important and effective in their own way, people do better when they feel better. A break from the sadness and guilt never hurt anyone. I love showing the amazing personalities these dogs have when they're given the chance.

Check out a slideshow of dogs below, and let us know your favorites in the comments section.

by Sylvia Elzafon

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