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the right question… for David Veit, environmental dog photographer

By Gail Stoorza-Gill

The sound of a howling dog caused our two canines to whip their heads around, perk those ears up and look down on the beach at Fiesta Island Dog Park to view a safari-like dressed man, with slouchy hat and a camera with a super-long lens. This is how we met the howling Environmental Dog Photographer, David Viet, as he captured some wonderful action photos of our two red hooligans.
With an eclectic professional background including being a banker, a Japanese translator for the chairman of Sanyo America, and working in IT, David loves his free-flowing life filled with “interesting dogs and nice owners.”
TRQ: What do you capture in your photography with dogs that makes your work different and special?
DV:  I strive to show people their dogs in two ways: as they’ve never seen them before or what they see in them every day that makes them smile, for instance when the dogs are being unruly … pensive … puzzled.  I capture them interacting with their pack mates, both human and canine.

TRQ:  Most of your adult life you’ve held “corporate” jobs.  How did this professional life with dogs come about?
DV:  I was raised with (and partially by) dogs and I’ve always been a dog person. During my early childhood I landed my first after-school job caring for P J, a coonhound mix. As a teenager I enjoyed “Basseting,” where a local troop of huntsmen followed 25 to 50 basset hounds over hill and dale, hot on the trail of faster animals like jackrabbits and foxes. So, I eventually had enough of the corporate world and looked for something which allowed me to fully express myself.

TRQ:  How did you get started in the dog business?
DV: At the ripe old age of 37 I started taking what could best be called advanced amateur shots of dogs with a digital SLR. What made my work special was my relationship with dogs. My background includes working at a variety of jobs for Petsmart, including managing the “Large Dog Playroom” and finally being promoted to dog trainer. The skills I learned there play an important role in my work as a dog photographer. I have to be able to build a bond with the dog very quickly so the training comes in very helpful.

TRQ:  Can dogs reason?
DV:  In a limited way. They understand our body language much more than we think.

TRQ:  Favorite breed?
DV: I love them all. At the dog parks I love played “Guess that breed.” My favorite, though, harks back to the Australian cattle dogs who lived with my mother in Maine. They’re very smart dogs who have minds of their own.

TRQ: Heroes?
DV: William Wegman, who is well known for his photography of Weimaraners, Cesar Millan, my parents and grandparents.

TRQ: Prized possession?
DV: A well-read 1946 copy of “The Count of Monte Christo” which my grandmother gave me.

TRQ: Self Indulgence?
DV: Yoga in the middle of the day and Jelly Bellies

TRQ:  San Diego has been called “America’s Finest City.” What’s it going to take for the city/region to earn that moniker again?
DV: I still see it as “America’s Finest City.” The problems we have here are endemic around the world.

To learn more about David Veit and view some of his photography visit veitphotography.com.

Gail Stoorza-Gill is an independent marketing consultant and serves on the boards of Security Business Bank of San Diego, Monarch School and voiceofsandiego.org. Send her your ideas for prospective people to feature at gailstoorza@cox.net.

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