PoCo pet photographer wins national recognition

Photog finds beauty in her own backyard

It’s a hunt for light and composition captured in a split-second.

But for Port Coquitlam photographer Deborah Stevenson, the right split-second only presents itself when the pace of life slows to a crawl and the small things in nature – those things you’d brush past or step over – grow into miniature worlds.

It’s about being present and “taking in the moment,” Stevenson explains.

photo supplied Deborah Stevenson

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During a break between clients at her Port Coquitlam pet photography business, Stevenson reflected on the honour of having three of her photos selected for the 2022 National Image Salon of the Professional Photographers of Canada.

The winning photos were selected from approximately 600 entries in a variety of categories.

While photography has been a lifelong interest, Stevenson said she got serious about her craft four years ago.

“I was just approaching my 50th birthday and I finally felt like I woke up and was like: ‘Oh my god, I know what I want to do when I grow up,’” she says.

The self-described “animal lover and pet parent” found there was a market for pet photography, launching Cedar and Bark Photography.

photo supplied Deborah Stevenson

Pets are often part of the family, she says, adding that every once in a while, a clients’ favourite child is of the four-legged variety.

Besides coaxing co-operation out of dogs (sometimes with treats, sometimes by getting on the floor and playing) she’s photographed a lizard, a hedgehog and a baby ball python.

Entering the contest is about trying to grow as an artist, she explains.

photo supplied Deborah Stevenson

She ended up being honoured for a photo of a Chinese lantern, an abstract sunset taken on the road to Whistler, and an icicle that had formed on a leaf in her backyard. The icicle ended up generating a lively debate, she adds.

Entrants can watch their photographs judged online in real time.

“It’s a little bit of a nail-biting situation,” she says.

The icicle photo was initially accepted. However, on reconsideration, it was removed from contention.

Stevenson stopped watching at that point, only to find out her photo had been re-reconsidered when she received the award.

The abstract sunset was taken by intentionally moving the camera to get a blur.

“It’s always such a good feeling to get acknowledgement from your peers and mentors,” she says.

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