I believe that pets are more than just animals. They are your best friend, your doctor when you are sick, your silver lining after a bad day at work. I believe that nothing cures a bad day better than doggy or kitty cuddles, and that nothing makes you laugh harder than a kitten chasing its tail.
I believe that pet photography should be unforced and fun – whether it be a play in the park or a cuddle at home. I believe that shoots should happen naturally, without strained posing and big scary flashes. I believe that a shoot should be so much fun for your pet that they sleep all day afterwards, and then start harassing you for a modelling contract when they wake up.
I believe in documenting those little moments – the ones that are so small but take up so much room in your heart. The way your dog rests his head on your shoulder and looks at you like you’re a superhero. How your cat will sleep with her paws over her face. How even though you’ve spent hundreds on designer dog beds, your dog will still only cuddle up on a ratty old soft toy from Kmart, and then fall asleep with his tongue sticking out.
I come from a long line of animal nuts – my Granny and Grandpa were forever bringing home strays, and my mum and dad always ended up with the neighbourhood cats that nobody else wanted. Even as a baby, I loved nothing more than spending time with the family pets (whether they liked it or not). I loved watching David Attenborough documentaries growing up, and always thought I’d end up as a marine biologist (turns out I’m no good at science), a zookeeper, or a wildlife photographer.
In 2009, lured by the idea of exotic animals and the thrill of safaris, I headed to East Africa where I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with photography. I’d played around with cameras a bit before then, but travel was what really set off my passion for taking photos.
When I returned, I adopted my first cat who was just mine. Neela was a hissing, spitting, grumpy tortoishell, who promptly fell in love with me and hated everyone else. I could rub her belly, hold her like a baby, and kiss her, while others were at serious risk of blood loss if they even looked her the wrong way. She was a constant through some very tough times, and all she ever asked is that I loved her back.
Neela passed away before I could ever photograph her properly. She was hit by a car, and died instantly. I had been so busy photographing strangers and inanimate objects, that I had never turned the camera onto the one thing I loved most. My heart slowly healed, I adopted my next cat JB, and from that day on I made sure that he was photographed regularly. Now I am the owner of two beautiful (but slightly simple) cats, who I adore.
I’ve been photographing pets in Melbourne since 2011 – and it’s been a wild ride of muddy paw prints, kitten snuggles, laughter, love, and loss. I have seen the true unconditional love, total heartbreak, and pure joy that pets bring, and I feel so privileged that people trust me to record these precious memories for them.
Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, I now call Melbourne home. I travel between Melbourne and New Zealand regularly, so please get in touch if you’re a Kiwi wanting a shoot! If you are in Victoria, head on over and say hello, and to tell me all about what makes your pet the best. I can’t wait to hear from you!
A few of my favourite things
When I’m not photographing animals, you can find me at the beach, climbing up mountains, travelling, running, swimming, or spending quality time with my two favourite boys – Bertie and JB! Come and follow us on social media @erinmcnultypetphotographer on Instagram, or click here for my Facebook page