Some photographers want to go into conflict zones and document the unfolding situation in a war. Others feel compelled to capture the essence of humanity in portraiture.
But photographer Carolyne Cowan’s art-form is capturing the wild expressions of dogs as they try to catch cubes of cheese. Her husband Alasdair, 63, is in charge of throwing the treats.
“It’s a laugh a minute,” says mum-of-two Carolyne, 56, who started the events in 2018 to raise money for dog charities and spent 15-minute photography sessions, snapping more than 50 pictures per pet.
Between 2018 and 2020 the “Catchathon” events raised an astounding £15,000, but were forced to stop when Covid hit. After seeing that dog owners were forced to use food banks they decided to restart the events.
Carolyne, from Falkirk in Scotland, said: “It’s fast and furious and total bedlam at times but it’s so funny – it’s like a doctor’s surgery with one in and one out and me shouting ‘next’.
“Alasdair cuts up around 10kg worth of cheese into cubes but he has to do different sizes for small dogs and big dogs.
“He throws the cheese to the dog and then I click away – I tend to get about 50 pictures of each dog.”
After the shoots Carolyne goes through the pictures and narrows them down to the best 10 for each dog.
“It’s a laugh a minute,” Carolyne says of the selection process.
“Not all dogs settle right away so we make sure we take the time to get them comfortable, but most are fine after five minutes.
“Some dogs will just look at you when you throw the cheese at them, but the fails sometimes make better pictures than the catch.
“The dogs go home in a cheese coma. It’s so much fun and they love it.”
Speaking about her photography, Carolyne says it allows dog owners to see their pet in a way they wouldn’t normally be able to.
“When owners give their dog a treat it happens so fast you don’t get a chance to see their facial expression,” she says.
“I capture that millisecond moment where you see what they look like actually taking the treat.”
The couple recently raised £1,230 in just one weekend from a Catchathon they ran from 26-27 February.
They teamed up with Burns Pet Food who gave them £8,000 worth of food which was donated to food banks.
Speaking about the donation from Burns, Carolyne said: “It’s amazing the support they have given us.”
You can find out more about the Catchathon here.