I have always loved photography and, like many people, I used to do it as a hobby. Initially, I only took pictures during my travels and vacations. But at some point, I realized that I was not happy with the way my life was converging so I needed to make a decision: was I going to keep that way or would I make a turn? Fortunately, I did turn and bumped into photography.
Animals have been a part of my life forever and I wanted to help them but I didn’t know exactly how to do it. So, talking to a friend who is a volunteer at an animal rescue NGO, I found out that photographers are actually really needed at this kind of NGO. The idea is simple: better photos, more chances to be adopted. Therefore, as I was taking photography classes, I volunteered. It was like love at first sight. However, every time I mentioned that I was a volunteer at an animal shelter, people always got that image of volunteers playing and petting the animals. I felt like no one really knew how hard and strenuous it can be.
Having that in mind, I chose voluntary work as the theme of my coursework (against my teacher’s will). And the reception of my photos was so great (not only by my teacher but also by the volunteers and even by a well-known pet photographer on social media) that I finally had the courage to start something new for myself combining two of my passions: photography and animals.
So, here are some photos of my work called “Demystification of Voluntary Work”. Hope it inspires you to help and to respect this amazing job even more.
What does it take to be a volunteer at a rescued animal center? (The word written is Welcome)
I was inspired to do this project when I was taking a photography course, and I had to prepare a photo essay for the class. When I introduced the idea to the course instructor, she thought that the photoshoot would be very shallow in the sense that it would only show cute pets.
However, I had been working as a volunteer photographer for while with this nonprofit in Brazil, and I knew that the course instructor was not alone in her misconceptions about the work at an animal rescue organization. Thus, I decided to prepare this work to show the usually unthought and unrevealed side of volunteers working with rescued pets.
I thought this photo project would be a great way to show how hard volunteer work can be, and that it could open people’s eyes to the fact that help is needed. In some way, I guess that it raises awareness of the importance of the job for these little creatures that we all love!
Photography started as a hobby – I wanted to have an escape from my routine as a physician. In the beginning, I would mostly do landscape photography.
However, after a while, I found my true passion after taking photos of my own pets at home. So, I thought that this is something I wanted to do. With this, my interest in photography started growing more and more, and I decided to start taking courses to improve my techniques.
I think volunteer work is a commitment, as much as any other paid job someone may have. Some people think that because it is volunteer work, they may come and go at their pleasure. However, when you commit to being a volunteer, people start counting on you. Also, when being a volunteer, you have to be open to working with whatever the organization needs at the moment. We can’t be picky about the kind of job we want to do. So, before applying for any volunteer work, we need to really think about whether we’re able to commit or not.
Adaptation to any situation
Since I moved to Canada, and because of the pandemics, I haven’t been able to do shelter photography anymore. However, back in Brazil, I always felt that it was rewarding. I love trying to capture their personalities through my lens. Animals have the power to make us feel good, and I think a good portrait of an animal shelter would increase their chances of finding a forever home. Every time I went back to the shelter and I heard that an animal I photographed had been adopted, my heart was full of joy.
I would like to think this project made a difference! I’ve heard of so many stories of animals being adopted after professional photographers taking good photos of them. If “Desmystification of Voluntary Work” raised curiosity in at least one reader to go and visit a local shelter, I will already be happy enough.
It’s important to value all kinds of work
If you can’t decide between adopting or shopping please visit the local shelter and try to find if there is not a pet that deserves a chance in their hearts, before deciding to buy one. I believe that animals are good in nature, and if someone rejected them, it is because their tutors were not prepared to give them the love they needed.
There are a lot of animals out there that may never have a home if we can’t give them a small chance. And usually, it pays back: they are so grateful and give us so much love and joy!
And having the ability to multi-task
Having a strong heart for those battles we can’t win
But always going into battle believing we will win!
And above all of this
And a little dance too!
Are you up for it?
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