LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

LA PUPARAZZI ~ NOT A SHAGGY DOG STORY

photographer

GORDON ALEXANDER
Posted 05.03.06

TROY, VT | We have all heard of the tabloid Paparazzi as they relentlessly chase celebrity jet setters all over exotic places hoping to catch them at their worst. According to the encyclopedia "Paparazzi" is a plural term (paparazzo is the singular form) for photographers who take candid photographs of celebrities, usually by relentlessly shadowing them in their public and private activities.

It is this antagonistic interaction that is the hallmark of a true paparazzo; however, the term is often used more broadly to describe all photographers who take pictures of people of note.

Brigitte Nadeau of Troy hardly follows celebrity dogs around hoping to catch them in compromising situations but she does have fun in her business called LaPuparazzi as she takes liberties with the tabloid name of her infamous photographic counterparts.

She loves her work and she loves dogs, but most importantly they love her as they pose patiently while she gets them at their best.

Brigitte Nadeau, 42, is a bubbly, smiling lady who radiates enthusiasm and an obvious love of her photographic craft and her four-legged subjects. She starts each photo session by fussing over her subject, handing out doggie treats, ear scratches, and tummy rubs, before getting down to business creating their portraits,

The dog's owner stands by in the background giving moral support to their pet, but the posing dog probably doesn't need consoling as it fixes its eyes on Bridgett and her camera with tail wagging furiously.

"My first camera was put in my hands at the age of three, and one of my first words was "chien," which is French for dog," Brigitte said.

Brigitte grew up speaking French in her home in Sherbrooke, Quebec. After graduating from school she moved to Montreal.

Brigitte has been doing photography professionally for the last twenty years -- she did her photographic training at the Marsan Photo College in Montreal.

She met her husband, Steve Yeskoo,a native Vermonter, on a blind date in Burlington, all because of her yellow lab and his shepherd husky. This unusual foursome went on a doubledate that worked out for everybody. Brigitte later became a permanent US resident, after which she and Steve married and moved to Troy.

Steve runs Audio Strategies Inc., an Internet Audio Marketing & Products business out of their home, while Brigette runs "La Puparazzi." They share their pampered pooches that got them together in the first place.

" A dog can really change your life for the best -- it turned me into a married "Puparazzi," she said.

"Black and White portraits have always been my favorite format. Personally I think black and white -- although some say it's old fashioned, lets you feel the dog's true personality and emotions without the distraction of color, either on or around your subject.

In my pictures, I love to convey the emotion and personality of each dog so that the portrait captures a feel for their souls. I always try to focus on their eyes. Dogs eyes always reveal their emotions." she said

Brigitte has been involved in dog portraiture for two years, deciding that specialization is the way to go. At the beginning of her career she was involved with people portraiture and some weddings before settling into her present niche with the two subjects she loves most -- dogs and photography.

"Of course I love my husband too, but that is another story," she said, laughing.

She is just as comfortable with computers as she is with her camera, having designed and created her own website She constantly keeps it updated with new dog portraits and special offers.

"I have added another feature to some of my portraits by doing hand coloring using a watercolors," she revealed "I can add a touch of color to certain parts of the black and white image or color the entire portrait".

La Puparazzi does not have a home or business studio as Brigette prefers to travel to her clients' homes to do her portraiture. In some cases a park or other location of the client's choosing works best for certain situations, according to Brigitte.

"Before the actual photo session, I prefer to visit the home meet the dog and it's owners to establish rapport," she said. "This lets me get an idea where I want to pose the dog, what the lighting is like, if I will need flood lights, or special problems that might occur as well as, most importantly, let the dog and myself get to know each other."

" During the day of the shoot I ask that the owners exercise their dog a little bit so the animal will be a little more relaxed during the session."

photographer"For lighting, I prefer natural light, so therefore prefer to do the portrait sitting in the daytime. I can use my portable flood lights but never an electronic flash. I find the sudden bright flash from the strobe unit can startle and frighten the dog, thereby ruining a sitting."

Using a bag of doggie snack treats per sitting, the photo session can last between 1-2 hours with the dog and one or both of the owners present. Several days after the session Brigitte provides the 4 x 6 proofs, which are not really proofs that the client can frame or put in an album.

The average cost of the sitting with 4 x 6 prints is $125.00. Extra enlargements or prints cost a little extra as does hand coloring. Brigitte usually shoots one roll of 35 mm film. Extra rolls needed at the time of the sitting will cost slightly more.

For equipment she uses a conventional high-quality 35mm camera with three lenses.

" I plan to go digital this year to keep up with the times," she said " I bought a new digital camera that I haven't tried yet. I guess this new photographic system will take some getting used to I really love the smell of regular film that is the way I learned how to take pictures." she said.

La Puparazzi is offering a line of post cards for dog lovers featuring an assortment of cute dog faces complete with "dog wisdom" --one-liners imprinted on the card beside the dog's face. She is also marketing a line of dog photo magnets, and t-shirts on her web retail store and in select retail stores throughout the area.

New this year will be a line of dog sympathy card available at vet's offices for people whose pets pass away and/or their friends. The photos will show various types of cute dogs wearing a pair of "Angel Wings."

The angel wings are actually a set of people angel wings that she bought at a costume store in sizes large and small . These white down-covered wings come in small and large sizes with arm straps which can double a front leg straps for pooches. At each sitting, subject to the approval of the pet's owner, Brigette will photograph the pooch wearing these wings. The day of the photo shoot pictured here, Mattie, a female Mountain Bernese, look confused and slightly embarrassed but, like an angel, posed happily with the wings. occasionally chewing at its elastic support straps. Its not easy being an angel.

La Puparazzi has an Angel Dog exhibit during open studio weekend at the Wooden Horse Art Guild, at 47 Main St, North Troy, May 27 to 28. She also has a permanent exhibit of her work at the Seymour Lane Gallery, 55 Seymour Lane in Newport.

Starting this month and in conjunction with the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast lodge in North Troy, La Puparazzi is offering a weekend dog sitting, along with the room rate for visitors with dogs. The Riverbend B&B is dog-friendly, permitting guests to include their dogs while staying over at the Bamp;B. This Bamp;B could very well change its name to BB&B ( Bed, Breakfast and Bones ) as it advertises it's dogs-are-Ok policy nationally to north-bound tourists.

Believing that she should be giving back to a community where she makes her living, Brigitte supports and works with the Frontier Animal Society shelter and P.E.T.S of the Kingdom, rescue league. P.E.T.S an acronym for People for Ethical Treatment of Strays.

dog "I am always excited by the idea that I am creating a lasting memory of someone's cherished, furry, family member" She said.

As long as the doggie treats hold out.





Copyright © 2006 Gordon Alexander/Log Cabin Chronicles/05.06