Lifelines project exhibit in Austin's City Hall- Portraits of the Homeless and their beloved pets

Upcoming exhibit of photographic portraits of the homeless and their pets at Austin's City Hall April 15-29th 2013. Opening reception held Friday, April 19th 5:30-8pm.

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Lifelines: a project about the bond between the homeless and their pets

Over the last year, Gabrielle Amster and I have passionately honored the bond between the homeless and their pets in Austin, Texas and the surrounding areas through the medium of photography and sound. We have named this project Lifelines.

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Shelter puppies in an old truck– Pet Photography Workshop Demo benefiting animal shelter

During my pet photography workshop I had the chance to photograph a pile of shelter puppies in an old Chevy truck during a demonstration to my class. Use of the photographs will be donated to the Espanola Valley Humane Society in New Mexico.

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This Cat's Meow {Pet photographer, Austin, TX}

I was recently asked to photograph Molly— a stunningly beautiful white cat, for the 2012 Austin Humane Society Alumni Calendar. Molly was adopted from the Austin Humane Society by her owners who absolutely adore her. This cat is not only exquisite to gaze upon and photograph with her gorgeous white coat and her multi-colored eyes, but also has a very sweet demeanor. I photographed Molly at her home in Austin and upon entering the door I immediately noticed the gorgeous dining room table and luscious green painted walls. The light was soft and subtle and I loved the way the green of the background accentuated her greenish-yellow eye. I've been a professional pet photographer for several years now. The opportunities for commissioned photographs of cats have been fewer than dogs for some reason. I love the different challenges that arise when working with cats, as well as having the chance to bond with these unique animals. I adore cats (I have three!) and appreciated being asked to photograph Molly.

I extend much gratitude to the Austin Humane Society for their tremendous support for the animals and the community here in Austin and beyond. Please support THEM by purchasing 2012 calendars!

Norah Levine is an Austin based children portrait photographer and pet photographer. She photographs in homes and on location. She also travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico frequently for sessions. Please view her website for more details

Lifelines: A Unique Perspective on the Bond Between the Homeless and Their Pets

Introduction to a photographic project by Norah Levine wherein she photographs the homeless and their pets. Norah is focusing on the joy that the animals bring to the lives of those she photographs and hopes to raise awareness about this social issue.

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Austin based Haute Dog Magazine: portraits of an artist and her beloved dog

The spring issue of Austin's own Haute Dog Magazine features a portrait I created of artist, Marnie Hart, and her incredibly sweet and loyal dog, Bonham, a handsome German Shepherd she resuced from a shelter the day before he was to be euthanized. Marnie is a high school art teacher who wrote and beautifully illustrated a book entitled "I Promise to.." All of the proceeds currently go to local non-profit organizations to help save the lives of animals. Please visit her website for more information on purchasing the book or cards to support her important cause. Part of why I love my job as a photographer is that I get to meet people and animals with whom I may otherwise never get a chance to connect. Marnie and her family certainly added to that list of connections I cherish and I was thrilled about the assignment. She is truly passionate, talented and committed to her project and I'm so glad I have had the chance to photograph her and Bonham.  We spent the afternoon getting to know one another, photographing, talking, and playing with the dogs... it was fantastic.

I'm excited to share the article from Haute Dog Magazine here in Austin... This is an incredibly high caliber magazine filled with amazing images, stories and resources. Please visit their website above to subscribe!

We had a blast. As you can see in the image on the right everything always goes to plan! Haha.

Continued success with your project, Marnie and I thank you for sharing your talents to benefit the animals who need all the help they can get!

Petcasso fundraiser art revealed

Last evening the Animal Trustees of Austin held their 5th annual Petcasso fundraiser here in Austin and it was a huge success! Last week I shared a small portion of the art I created for this project and I promised to reveal the entire piece. I'm excited to say that my painting/photograph raised $2400 during the live auction for the Animal Trustees of Austin! There were some amazing paintings included in the auction that also raised significant funding for the organization.

The final piece is titled, "Sisters" inspired by two loving chihuahua sisters named Kiki and Coco.

I'd love to share a little bit about the process with you.

When I was asked to participate in this project I was really excited (and as I mentioned earlier, very nervous) to have the opportunity to work closely with an animal welfare project here in Austin. These two sweet dogs were in foster care, awaiting a permanent home when I photographed them.

My idea was to photograph the dogs and create a mixed media piece of art. I photographed the dogs against a green background so I would be able to delete the background in Photoshop and create an entirely white background ready for paint. I could have photographed them on white, but due to timing and space issues this was the best solution. The dogs were nervous and quivery (as are most chihuahuas!) during the beginning of the portrait session. They weren't incredibly interested in treats and I think they just needed time to get used to me and my camera. The more calm I became the more relaxed they got. They eventually sat down for a couple of seconds back to back. I loved the shaped that their bodies made when they joined together and I had a pretty good idea that this was going to be the image for my painting.

After photographing these two tiny ladies I worked on the computer editing the image from the background. I then had to recreate hair in Photoshop because it is not easy to include the thin hairs when you're deleting a background from a photograph. It was important to me to have these details included despite the tedious process of drawing hair for a few hours! I then had the photograph printed as an 18" x 36" canvas wrap. In the end, the structure resembled a painting because the canvas was wrapped around wooden supports and the photograph is actually printed on canvas.

When I received the canvas with the photograph printed on it I started painting with acrylic paint. I love color and wanted to use warm colors that blended toward the center where the dogs' bodies joined. I used brushes as well as palette knives to add the color. After I created a base painting it was time to get the artistic influence of the chihuahuas. I met them at the Animal Trustees of Austin and they helped add some of their chihuahua "flair" with their tiny paws. It was at that time that a video of our production was created and Kiki and Coco became superstars.

After the sisters artistic touch was added I finalized the painting and passed it on to the organization for the big event.

This was absolutely a delightful project and in addition to being able to help an amazing organization I am now inspired to explore this style for more painting and photography combinations. I'm happy to say that Kiki and Coco now have a permanent, loving home and so does their portrait.