Intimate Portraits of Animal Shelter Volunteers Reveal a Heartwarming Bond
Photographer Jesse Freidin has spent the past year capturing the bond that’s shared between shelter volunteers and the animals they care for. “No one talks about the logistical aspects of pet adoption, or how it takes a huge toll on people doing this work,” Freidin told The Huffington Post. “These volunteers show up for free and carry the brunt of the work. They’re the ones who allow the animals to go through the system and they’re responsible for getting the animals adopted.” Rather than simply photographing these hardworking individuals for his Finding Shelter project, the artist also wanted to find out why they dedicate their time to such a cause.
While the caretakers do look after their animals, Freidin also believes that they receive something in return. “I had this theory before I started that there’s a cycle of support and healing that’s happening,” he said. In other words, he imagines that the volunteers are emotionally benefitting from the sympathetic work that they do. “Across the board, if nothing else, these people have a deep desire to give back,” said Freidin. “But in turn, are seeking some kind of support from that process.”
In the end, the photographer hopes that his work will shine a light on the volunteers who dedicate their time to an admirable mission. Recently, Freidin launched a Kickstarter so that he can continue photographing at shelters across the country. He wants to chronicle what he learns in a book, while also giving the shelters free digital copies of his images. These high-quality snapshots will allow the animals to have a better chance of getting adopted. “I truly believe that dog photography is simply a study of the human condition, and that animals shelters are a place where humanity thrives,” Freidin explains on his website.