June 18, 2024


Super Art is Almost

Local photographer hosts dog photography class at Fremont Area Art Association | Local News

When it comes to taking photos of dogs, Ken Shuster said he never stands during the shoot.

“You have to get on their level,” he said. “If you’re shooting down at something, it lessens the object. It diminishes its strength when you’re shooting down on something.”

Last Saturday, Shuster had a class at the Fremont Area Art Association dedicated to teaching attendees the basics of shooting pictures of dogs.

The students used Darci and Greta, two dogs belonging to board member Katy Jones, as subjects during the class.

Shuster, who has spent almost his entire life in Fremont, previously worked for the Chicago and North Western and Union Pacific railways before his retirement nine years ago.

“I used to do a little bit of photography when I was growing up, just the general taking pictures of the kids and vacation and what have you, family events, Christmas, that kind of thing,” he said.

But it wasn’t until about 15 years ago when Shuster got seriously involved in photography.

“I saw these exhibits out at the mall by different portrait photographers and thought, ‘Well hell, I can do that,’” he said. “So I ended up with a small digital camera and went from there.”

Since taking up the art, Shuster’s topics of focus have been wildlife and landscapes, as well as macro photography, which focuses on small objects with high magnifications.

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Around 10 years ago, Shuster became a member of the FAAA, which has hosted his exhibits and work in its giftshop.

“It’s one of the hidden gems of this city,” he said. “It’s been here for 60 years, and I don’t think three-fourths of the city knows where it’s at.”

Shuster has also used the space to hold classes, including teaching photography of landscapes. He hopes to host a matting and framing class later this year.

When teaching, Shuster said he uses “odd” but effective methods, including avoiding taking any pictures himself during a class.

“If I do it, you’re shooting like me, not like you,” he said. “There’s a big difference.”

The idea for Shuster’s dog class came from the FurEver Home, as he photographed for its annual Pet Pictures with Santa event, which has members of the public bring their furry friends in for a photo shoot.

Bringing his expertise to the FAAA, Shuster said the students enjoyed getting to learn the different angles of photography dogs, especially ones as excitable as Darci and Greta.

“It seemed to go real well,” he said. “The first thing I had them do was take pictures looking down at the animals and then looking eye-level at the dogs, and then from lower.”

Shuster said when teaching at the FAAA, which he thanked for being so accommodating, he tells his students to shoot in the middle of the action.

“Find your photograph, find the story that you need to tell,” he said. “And it’s no different with kids, dogs, people, flowers.”

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