Maggie Epling knew she wanted to help the world during her summer break from college.
Maggie Epling knew she wanted to help the world during her summer break from college. Interested in photography and helping animals in need, she found the perfect opportunity to volunteer at the Pike County Animal Shelter in Kentucky, USA.
There, he used his camera to take portraits of cats and dogs, focusing especially on black animals in shelters. The results are glamorous images of cats and dogs looking for homes.
Epling decided to approach the shelter after reading articles about how animals that have good photos are more likely to be adopted.
The Pike County Animal Shelter accepted her help and went to work. During this time, she heard that black kittens and puppies often have trouble getting adopted. Black cats, in particular, suffer from this due to the persistent superstition that they will bring bad luck.
The photos turned out to be a hit; the images have put the spotlight on these needy animals. The Pike County Animal Shelter is located in a rural area, but her portraits have prompted people from other areas to call the organization, much to the shelter’s surprise.
Epling’s approach to taking his beautiful portraits involves first getting to know the animal beyond being in a kennel. To illustrate this, he tells the story of a dog named Tiny.
“[Tiny] he looked so sad in his kennel, with floppy ears and his tail between his legs,” Epling tells My Modern Met. “When I took her outside for our pre-photo shoot playtime in the yard, she became a completely different dog – she went from stressed and nervous to down-to-earth and playful.”
Tiny has big ears and different colored eyes, so Epling knew he wanted to show off the dog’s striking features and vibrant personality. “When we got to the studio, you could see that right away; I squeezed a toy and her ears perked up and I took the opportunity to picture her. I love how focused she looks because that’s just who she is: she’s a determined little dog!”
Tiny’s photo sums up what Epling wants to accomplish while volunteering. “I want to use photography to show what these sweet dogs are like when they’re not in the stressful environment of a shelter,” she explains.
“I want to show people what these dogs would look like in their homes, in the park or on a walk with them, in a way that simply isn’t possible with a photo taken through cage bars.”