Since I didn’t get around to it in my last post, the one inspired by The Great Discontent’s interview of photographer Theron Humphrey, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of Humphrey’s beautiful work and the equally beautiful meaning behind it. So, here goes:
I must admit, I’m a bit late to the bandwagon in sharing Maddie On Things — the project manifested in the form of a photo blog and book created by photographer Theron Humphrey. In it, Humphrey documents the antics of his best friend, Maddie the Coonhound, as she — you guessed it — stands, sits, or lies on top of things.
The project started life as a personal one. Humphrey had adopted Maddie from a shelter before embarking on another photo project that took him traveling across the country. During this time, he took photos of Maddie on the side and uploaded them to Instagram. While he didn’t set out to make this a part of his career, Humphrey’s personal side project — taking pictures of his beloved pup and sharing them with friends — soon developed a following. It became the photo series that now provides enjoyment and entertainment to an impressive number of enthusiastic fans.
Humphrey’s personal project turned public success eventually provided him with the opportunity to collaborate on two projects with Purina One. The first, Why We Rescue, was a documentary project focused on capturing images of people and their rescued pets. It also provided these people with the chance to explain why they chose to rescue and how their pets have made their lives better.
In the beginning, this project set out to tell the tale of 10 people from New York City who had rescued their dogs from shelters. Eventually, it evolved into a second project entitled 50 States, 50 Pets, 50 Stories. This extended the Why We Rescue project to include similar stories of people and their rescued pets from all over the U.S. — one per state.
Maddie On Things became successful because people relate to Maddie, the quirky coonhound. They enjoy marveling at her impressive acts of acrobatic expertise, they delight in her ironically calm demeanor, and they wonder at what her next shenanigan will be. But, the overarching reason for the project’s success is that it has great, personal meaning to Humphrey. He pours a piece of his heart and soul into each photograph of his best friend and this love is evident in every one.
By incorporating a piece of himself into his work, Humphrey has been able to bring happiness to the lives of many with Maddie On Things. He has even been able to spread awareness for the adoption of shelter animals and all the great things this can bring through Why We Rescue and 50 States, 50 Pets, 50 Stories. Humphrey sets an excellent example, proving to us all that overcoming our fear of placing ourselves into our work and disregarding the criticism that doing so could bring, can lead to extraordinary things.
Let’s make a promise to ourselves to follow Humphrey’s example and muster the courage to create the extraordinary!