Welcome to Puplifting Moments, where we bring you our favorite stories about people making life better for pups - and pups making life better for people. This week, we’re writing about a fashion photographer turned shelter dog photographer who's making the world better for animals one shot at a time.
Richard Phibbs is an incredibly successful fashion and fine art photographer living and working in New York City. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, he’s photographed for Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein, and some of his photos have been privately collected by Bill Clinton, Ralph Lauren, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. But by far the most important work he’s done - at least in our opinion - is his shelter dog photography.
Phibbs began volunteering for the Humane Society of New York in 2012, where he photographed adoptable dogs (and some cats!) to try and help them find their forever homes. His ability to capture the animals as captivating, beautiful, and emotional creatures, even at their most raggedy, was instrumental in getting them adopted faster.
His work was so appreciated, he was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society, was awarded a Humane Society of New York Humane Medal in 2015, and was voted one of the Rodale 100, the definitive list of people/organizations positively impacting the world.
After years of volunteer work, Phibbs decided to collect his shelter dog photography in a book titled ‘Rescue Me,’ which was published in October 2016. Accompanying each photo is a little blurb about the dog’s journey into adoption as written by Phibbs. (FYI, the proceeds from the book go directly to the Humane Society. Hint, hint.)
“My portraits of homeless animals are not meant to make people feel sad,” Phibbs writes in ‘Rescue Me.’ “The goal is to find every animal a home. I hope to inspire people who are thinking of getting a dog or cat to ‘adopt instead of buy.’ By sharing your home and your life with a homeless animal, you become part of this great awakening, this transformation of human consciousness that recognizes the essential value of all living beings.”
One year after losing his beloved senior dog, Huck, Phibbs was photographing a spunky little long-haired chihuahua when he realized that this little dog was the one for him. Phibbs adopted the chihuahua and named him Finn as an homage to Huck. (Get it? Huck Finn.) They’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since. Finn is the perfect size for traveling around the world on fancy photo shoots.
When Richard Phibbs isn't creating beautiful fashion and fine art photography, he continues to photograph dogs in need. You can follow him on Instagram to see the pictures of the dogs; each one is (or was!) adoptable and needs a home.
You can also purchase 'Rescue Me' via Aperture or Amazon. Again, all proceeds from the book go directly to the Humane Society of New York, so not only are you getting a great book filled with beautiful dog pictures, you're also doing a little good for the world.
Do you know a rescue or shelter coming up with new ways to help adoptable dogs? Hit us up! We'd love to feature them in a Puplifting Moments email!