Barbara O’Brien has always loved animals. Her first job was walking the neighborhood dogs and she even eloped at 19 so she could have a horse (but that’s a whole other story)…
How did you become an animal photographer?
“I have been an animal actor trainer for many years and in order to serve my clients better, I had been auditioning dogs myself to make sure they were as well trained as their owners said they were. This required learning studio lighting and finding best ways to show the dog’s real personality. Over time, after photographing hundreds of dogs, cats and other animals and was able to figure out the best way to work with them to get the shot I wanted.”
What was the “craziest” animal shoot you’ve every worked on?
“Bringing the polar bear in from New Jersey was just plain bizarre. This was years ago. Polar bears are protected but this one was captive bred by circus in and was legally licensed. It was as big as a house! I don’t source wild animals for clients any more. It just doesn’t feel right to have them behave so unnaturally.”
In your opinion, what’s the hardest animal to train?
“Clients! No, just kidding. I gotta tell you it is hard to motivate lizards and snakes. Aside from food and warmth they are not motivated by much.”