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Chicago And Animal Shelters with Jeff Molitor

This is a series of blog posts dedicated to great photographers that are also contributing on Lobster. Read about the brilliant minds behind the camera, how photography mingles with their life and the stories behind their best shots. A bit about yourself: 47; from Batavia, IL; lived in Chicago for 20 years; dad of Cooper…

This is a series of blog posts dedicated to great photographers that are also contributing on Lobster. Read about the brilliant minds behind the camera, how photography mingles with their life and the stories behind their best shots.

A bit about yourself:

47; from Batavia, IL; lived in Chicago for 20 years; dad of Cooper – 9.5 yr old beagle and Tassha – a 3.5 yr old Doberman/Pyrenees mix (both adopted from Anti-Cruelty Society); professional life in digital marketing but loves are dogs, documentary photography and my ’82 Jeep Wagoneer.

The story behind a few images:

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This is William Noble – one of my nephews. I have an identical twin brother who has 10 kids – all amazing and unique. Will is a very thoughtful lad and kind of a free spirit – this photo was at my parents’ house in the suburbs of Chicago during a family outing. I think Will was fake hunting rabbits.

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This is Midnight – a pup living in Ymir, Canada that I met on one of my yearly visits to this perfect and quiet place of 300 people, residing in an old mining town. Ymir is ruled by mutts – they are all like their humans- get up, have breakfast, roam the town during the day, and then head home at night for dinner. This photo was part of a Canada portraits series

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Another portrait from Canada. I met this gentleman outside of a gas station on my way from Calgary to Ymir. He was kind and humble – i struck up a conversation and asked for his photo

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This was during the Chicago Cubs World Series at Wrigley Field in 2016.

What is your earliest memory of starting to explore photography?  
I received a Kodak 110 camera for Christmas when I was 8 years old. Although I did not actively photograph in those early years I always felt some connection to that feeling of being able to capture a moment, then……

Eco class freshman year at Illinois Wesleyan University. Sitting in class listening to a boring lecture (expected) and all I felt like doing was photographing the class expressions. I just felt ‘give me a camera and I’ll get something out of it’. I changed my major the next week from business to art (photography). Dad wasn’t very happy – I think he felt an art major was a ‘pre-bartending’ major – and he was correct. I joined the campus newspaper photo team and was mentored by a news professional, interned at The Pantagraph. 

Tell us about your work with Anti-Cruelty Society and how this translates into your photography:

A mix of my 2 loves – dogs and photography. ACS is an organization that relies heavily on volunteer participation and I felt I could assist in lending my photo skills for various events (“clear the shelters” “bark in the park”) and a general day-to-day documentary look at pups and moments that make up the ACS.

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How does your work with the ACS’s translate into your photography style? Do you think it gives you a different perspective to explore through your photos?

I actually believe it’s the other way around – my photography style provides a real and true look at the amazing efforts going on at ACS. Typical photos we may see (on social media or other mediums) tend to be smiling faces looking at the camera with arms wrapped around the pup – and there is nothing wrong with that to be sure. But my focus since I started volunteering at ACS has been to be that fly on the wall – capturing real moments of pups, staff, and volunteers in the day-to-day success (and struggles) in providing a committed effort to helping these pups find forever homes.

What does taking photos mean to you?

It is quite literally an indescribable feeling of being fulfilled and passionate about something – I just feel it. I see an amazing photo (photojournalism is my passion) from anywhere or anyone and something comes over me – an amazement like I am looking at something so magical that I can’t believe the world doesn’t stop to notice.

How to get involved at ACS:

Joining ACS as a volunteer is easy and fulfilling. Simply visit their website, make sure you meet the requirements, complete the application and complete the training curriculum consisting of orientation, animal handling training, and completing a solo session. You will be on your way to furthering our mission of “Building a community of caring by helping pets and educating people.”

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