For photographer Kristen Kidd, who operates a studio in North Wales, capturing shots of family dogs isn’t about getting them to sit still and look at the camera.
“We do a lot of work in understanding what their humans love most about them and want to celebrate. When we pick up our cameras, those things just magically show up, mainly because we’re letting that pup be who he or she is, and letting them thrive and be their natural selves,” said Kidd. “If they’re crazy and kooky, chances are that’s one of the things their humans really love about them.”
Kidd, who picked up her dad’s camera at the age of 15, specializes in capturing the relationship between pets and their humans. The owner of two dogs strives to create a “space for families to lean into their pets as their family members and elevate them to that status through having them be an integral part of their family photo experience.”
This deep bond between dogs and their owners is beautifully captured in Kidd’s coffee table book series Woman’s Best Friend, which features the photographs and stories of canines hailing from various parts of the country. Proceeds from the first two volumes of Woman’s Best Friend were donated to Harley’s Haven Dog Rescue in Perkasie and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, respectively.
Women’s Animal Center in Bensalem is volume three’s beneficiary. Located at 3839 Richlieu Road, America’s First Animal Shelter & Adoptions Program has been advocating for homeless animals since 1869. Women’s Animal Center also provides affordable, high-quality veterinary care, and is among just 12 percent of hospitals to be accredited. Caroline Earle White and over two dozen other women were responsible for the center’s inception all those years ago.
When it came time to choose a pet-related organization to receive proceeds from Woman’s Best Friend volume three, Kidd had established connections with numerous rescues and shelters.
“But once I found out who they were and what their history was, it just completely lined up with the philosophy and the story of Woman’s Best Friend. It was really a no-brainer to work with them,” she said about Women’s Animal Center. “They’ve been doing amazing work in the community for over 150 years at this point. It was really great to collaborate with them and bring the project to life to benefit them.”
To date, $8,000 has been raised for Woman’s Animal Center, which was presented with a check by Kidd earlier this month. One-hundred percent of funds raised through sales of Woman’s Best Friend volume three will indefinitely go to the nonprofit.
The book series, entitled as a fun tongue-in-cheek to “man’s best friend,” has raised over $25,000 in total.
Each volume spotlights about 50 four-legged friends, with photography by Kidd and stories based on interviews conducted with their owners beforehand. While some of the dogs have longer stories and fewer photos, others have more photos and brief quotes. No matter the length, each touches on the same sentiment – how a dog has been there for its human in ways other people haven’t.
“Each story is about the woman and her canine companion,” said Kidd. “They’re really sharing about how their dogs have been there for them through their highest highs and their lowest lows.”
Dogs included in Woman’s Best Friend are from New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and other parts of the U.S.
“The experience isn’t limited geographically,” said Kidd. “Sometimes, people come to us from far and wide, and sometimes they have us come to them.”
Following the release of Woman’s Best Friend volume three, Kidd is taking a break from this book series to launch a new initiative that benefits and celebrates senior dogs, who she said are too often left behind and pitied.
Kidd is currently accepting submissions for the upcoming book, the proceeds of which will benefit Monkey’s House – a senior dog sanctuary and hospice in New Jersey. Monkey’s House takes in senior dogs who have lost their home, have intense medical needs and are unlikely to get adopted.
“As they age, their aches and pains grow, things shift for them and they slow down, they’re still teaching their humans what it means to live their best life,” said Kidd.
Woman’s Best Friend volume three can be purchased at kristenkiddphotography.square.site/product/woman-s-best-friend-volume-three-preorder/31?cs=true&cst=custom. Visit womensanimalcenter.org for more information on Women’s Animal Center.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org