It’s not unusual for my name and ‘crazy dog lady’ to be used in the same sentence. In fact I imagine it’s rare that the two don’t go hand-in-hand. I’ve always been an animal lover. Some of my earliest memories are of time spent playing with our neighbour’s Yorkshire Terrier, Sparky, and the only family dog we ever owned, Boney M. He “went to live on a farm” when I was quite young and the rest of my formative years were filled with cats. At one point my Dad bought a pedigree Burmese and started taking her to cat shows. (Or maybe that’s just a dream, because it’s so out of character for him I still find it hard to believe!)
After high school I did a Visual Communications degree at the Dublin Institute of Technology, specialising in Photography and Graphic Design. In between third and fourth year I spent the summer waitressing in San Francisco, where I saved like crazy to buy my first automatic SLR. I had my own darkroom at home and spent many hours in there developing rolls of film and making colour and black and white prints. Out of the two majors I was taking, photography was by far my favourite. After I graduated I spent a few months trying to make it as a photographer, but the lure of the mighty Euro was strong so I went where the money was and started working as a graphic designer instead.
When I moved to Australia in 2004 I set about looking for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy and a Burmese kitten. I guess I was looking in the wrong places because we ended up with Ivan, a seven year old Husky. He was my husband’s idea and I agreed on the condition that I could still get a lapdog – and don’t try telling Angel the Staffy that she’s anything but! After we adopted Angel we decided to foster Chopper. He won us over in no time and within six months we went from owning no dogs to three dogs. Around the same time I bought my first DSLR. Fate conspired: Chopper is a camera ham. I loved taking photos of this really naughty stripey dog (pictured above) and he loved the attention. My passion for photography was reignited.
With a full house we couldn’t foster any more dogs, but I still wanted to help dogs in need, so I began photographing them for their adoption profiles. I spent many years honing my craft and in 2009 Ruthless Photos was born. It’s the perfect fusion of my two passions: photography and pets.
We still share our home with the lap-staffy and the naughty brindle dog. They’ve been joined by Trixie the Amstaff (a foster failure) and Bruno the Dog (also a foster failure, but only as far as my husband was concerned, because I knew from the moment I met him that he was a keeper). I also continue to take adoption photos of dogs. Six years as a specialist pet photographer have passed and I’m pretty sure that I’ve found my calling. It’s true what they say – do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.