“I have always been a visual person from my days in the theater to now. I’m drawn to improvisation and the fleeting and often surprising moments of recognition. This approach serves the process well when I’m working with pets."
Seventeen years ago, I adopted a little rescue dog and named her Tulip. I began taking pictures of her early in our relationship and, over time, I discovered a new passion. I love taking pictures of animals. Living with Tulip and NuBee, my current rescue dog, has taught me much about being in the moment, exploring new territory, responding to the unexpected, taking joy in little things and laughing every day. I bring that spontaneity into my photography as I take time getting to know my clients and their animals. The portraits I create honor an animal’s character and individuality and reveal the deep connection a family shares with a pet.
I earned an MFA degree at the Goodman School of Drama and worked in the booming off-Loop Theatre movement in Chicago, Illinois during the seventies. A member of the St. Nicholas Theatre Company, I served at various times as actress, director, production manager, stage manager, and casting director. In the late eighties, I went back to school and earned an Addictions Counseling Certificate at National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois followed by an MS degree in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names College in Oakland, California. I returned to Illinois in 1990 and opened my own practice working with recovering addicts. My transition into photography began on a trip to Paris in 1998. With a point-and-shoot camera, I wandered the city taking pictures. These images became the basis for experimentation with Polaroid film and chalk pastels. In 1999, I enrolled in an intensive workshop at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana. After a summer of shooting in every imaginable situation, I returned to Chicago and began building a portfolio. In 2000, I was passing through Santa Fe on a road trip and never left. Here, I found an artistic community that supported my explorations in the visual arts and I branched out into additional mediums, most particularly mixed media photography. Early on, I had the opportunity to take classes at the Santa Fe Photography Workshops studying with some of the finest photographers and teachers working today.
THE SHELTER PROJECT
In 2014, I began my relationship with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society and The Shelter Project was started. It has grown into a weekly session at the shelter working with a group of skilled volunteers to create portraits that will help the rescued animals find forever homes. More than once, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the moment when an animal and its companion-to-be fall in love.
Currently, I’m the official photographer for Steampup Nation, a company that makes jewelry for the whole pack. My work has been featured several times in the Pasatiempo, the weekly arts magazine published by the Santa Fe New Mexican. From 2005 to 2008, I was an artist-partner at Artistas de Santa Fe Gallery and, for many years, I was a member of the Santa Fe Society of Artists and the Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association. My work has been showcased in Santa Fe, Chicago, Seattle, and Little Rock.
If you’re interested in my earlier work, check out my other Instagram Link https://www.instagram.com/categoedert/