“Can I Pet Your Dog…”

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With the semester officially half way over it’s time to start thinking about *gulp* final projects.

I have a photography project that is pretty vague, only requirement is to take 20 photos a week and add them to a folder, easy enough, right? Wrong! The first idea I ran by my professor had to do with photographing all of the lions you see around Rome. It’s cooler than you think, kind of like where’s Waldo but with lions. Well this idea was promptly turned down because she felt as though I wouldn’t have “enough to shoot.” I guess she’s right though… I don’t know if I could see myself shooting different lions every week until the end of the semester.

My second project is for my Anthropology class and has to deal with a cultural aspect of Rome. It could be anything, but for the most part will focus on people and their habits.

One huge difference between the Romans and the Americans is how much they walk. People walk anywhere and everywhere in Rome, it’s an awesome way to burn all of that pasta and gelato!

But you can’t walk alone! Along with walking in general, there is also a noticeably larger amount of dogs in Rome than in America. Sometimes it’s near impossible not to stop people on the streets to asking them to pet their dogs.

This is exactly why I decided to use people and their dogs not only for one of my projects, but for both! It’s like killing two birds with one stone!

For photography I’ll get my variety of shots along with a unique project that will be fun to look back on once I return home to the US.

And for Anthropology, I’ll be able to compare breeds of dogs with people, who has their dogs dressed up, who has it just for show, and whose dog is more of an accessory vs. a family dog.

I’ve already gone out once specifically looking for dogs and their owners to talk to, and I was surprised with what I found.

I didn’t have anybody turn down my request to take their photo and around half of the owners were genuinely interested in my project and what I was planning to do.

It was interesting to see the men with their larger dogs walking around town with their blazers compared to the women found hanging around the designer stores with their small Pomeranians complete with sweaters embroidered with “I ❤ MOMMY!”

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This is a perfect example of what experienced when I went out to shoot for my classes. This man was dressed in a full suit, and while I’m not sure if it was a fashion choice, for work, or a combination of the two, he still made sure he had time in the middle of the afternoon to walk his dog, and look good doing it!

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I must have stood and talked to this woman for at least 10 minutes. She was curious as to why I was talking pictures of people with their dogs and wanted to know where I was from and even how I was enjoying my time in Rome.

Initially I was hesitant about doing a form of street photography because I wasn’t sure how people would react to a stranger asking to take their picture, but after just one day of taking pictures and talking to locals I know I made the right choice.

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I also think it will be interesting for Anthropology once I’ve accumulated more data and can really see what the “popular” dog choices are in Rome.

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