To be totally honest, 2021 was an extremely hard year for me personally. I moved from Tokyo to Kansas at the end of 2020 and thought the move would be temporary. But through a whole chain of unfortunate events, I found out that Kansas wasn't done with me about a week before I was set to move back to Asia. As a fine art travel photographer, this created a huge tipping point for me. Most of the locations I have worked at for the last 5+ years are still very challenging to get to, and while Kansas has a very unique landscape, there is not a huge market for travel photography to the midwest. (I would love to be proven wrong on this point, if you have any opportunities, have your people call my people)
Enter Pet Photography. As a way to cope with the isolation of being in a new place, and so far from friends and family, I started volunteering at my local Humane Society. At first, I was just volunteering a few hours a week to get out of the house, and fostering some kittens that needed a home. But as I got to know the wonderful people of Leavenworth County Humane Society (Follow them on social, it's a free easy way to support them) I wanted to see if there was more I could do to assist these homeless pets. Some of you may know that I do have a bit of a background working in commercial photography and marketing, so I volunteered to start taking images of their pets to help increase their visibility on social media and HOPEFULLY also increase our adoption rates. Like MANY MANY shelters in late 2021 we were filled beyond capacity and struggling to care for all of the pets that needed us. The images have helped us with fundraising and have greatly increased our interactions on social media, and we even used them as Holiday cards this December. In order to try and help a larger number of homeless pets, and other photographers, I have a detailed breakdown of my pet photography mobile studio set up on my YouTube channel 'Photography for the REST of us' and truly hope that sharing this knowledge can help others across the globe.
It's funny how sometimes frustration and change can help you find a way to spread joy to others. And I hope that in 2022 I can start to sort out this new life in the Midwest a little more. Happy New Year! -Cari