Community, Photography


What started as a fundraising effort to save photographer Kristoffer Paulsen’s beloved dog Josie, morphed into Melbourne’s most in-demand pet portraits.



Dogs open doors. When you tap into the universal affection for man’s best friend, things seem to happen, opportunities arise and people pull together for a common good. Kristoffer Paulsen, one of Australia’s most in-demand photographers, discovered this when his dog, Josie, fell ill in late 2019. Snowed under with bills, Paulsen posted an idea: a day of shooting pet portraits in Melbourne, to raise funds for Josie’s lifesaving care. 

Renowned around town for his stunning photography (Paulsen’s work has appeared in the New York Times and the Guardian, and he is the go-to artist for lifestyle and food shoots in a city where chefs and restaurants enjoy celebrity status), Paulsen’s shoot sold out instantly. Overwhelmed by the response, the photographer planned another; this time to raise funds for Australia’s bushfire relief efforts. Contributing to that figure was Paulsen’s own fundraising for Wildlife Victoria and the Red Cross.

The photographer’s packed-out pet portrait shoots captured scores of beloved Melburnian dogs, with all proceeds donated to relief efforts. Demand was high and the shots were stunning, capturing hounds against a striking black background. 

“At the heart of it, I want to be able to see the soul of the dog, just a glimpse. Some dogs just don’t play ball, but most do. A dog can be a total pain, and refuse to sit or do anything, but they might look at you for a split second, and if you get it, then that’s all it takes,” tells Paulsen. “My process is pretty simple, I keep it pretty basic. Black background with one light, sometimes a very faint fill. I suppose the main differences are that I keep a tub of treats on hand,” he adds. 

When asked if dog-obsessed city slickers will get another run at Paulsen shoot, the artist’s response was tantalisingly open-ended… “We’ll see… We’ll see… Maybe.”

All images courtesy of Kristoffer Paulsen



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