Laughing Dog

Rainna with Marty Laughing

Some 10 years ago, I shot my oldest granddaughter, Rainna, standing in front of dark shrubs in our yard. Now 14 years old, I recently asked her to pose in the same spot.   Like many teenagers, she is at that self-conscious age between puberty and adulthood. Perhaps she grabbed one of our dogs, a standard poodle named Marty, to share the spotlight and alleviate some of her own self-consciousness of the moment. Perhaps not. For she is also an animal lover who shares a strong bond with Marty.

What happened next was luck. (Although I have learned the more I shoot, the luckier I get! It is the law of all straight photography.)

So when Rainna squatted down with Marty in front of the same decade-old shrubs, I went with the flow. I was shooting medium format film (2-1/4″ square) and was focused on Rainna’s eyes when the dog yawned a moment before I clicked the shutter. The image was recorded the moment the dog’s jaw reached it’s apex and stopped moving, just as a ball thrown straight up is momentarily motionless before gravity pulls it back down.

The result was tack sharp dog molars in the plane of focus with my granddaughter’s eyes. Simultaneously, Rainna’s expression is one of contained laughter as she was keenly aware of the comedy occurring. A second earlier she had seen Marty starting to yawn out of the corner of her eye.

Obviously, this is not some deep mysterious image that answers some existential question. Rather, it is a light-hearted humorous snapshot deserving a permanent place in our family album.


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