What I began seeing as I started photographing Finding Shelter was that the volunteers were not only interested in simply sharing their affection with the animals; they equally needed the love that the shelter animals gave back. I was thrilled to see such an emotional relationship between the volunteers and adoptable animals. The silent love a shelter dog gives to the human who cares for him is truly healing, making an animal shelter a place for humans and animals to heal together. Though the topic is never actually discussed, volunteers find an environment of support and friendship within their relationships with the abandoned animals that keeps them coming back.
I hope that Finding Shelter helps reinterpret the often looked down upon depressive animal shelter. There have been many wonderful campaigns over the past few years to put a new spin on adopting animals and remove the stigma of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse. But this cannot be done with simply a good photo of a dog; people need to be introduced to the human element. I believe this will help them connect with shelter work, and understand the importance of adoption, spay/neuter and volunteering.
My photography has always been about honesty, observation and story telling. I'm happy with the Finding Shelter series so far, and am continuing to photograph volunteers in California. Please be in touch if you are interested in getting involved: www.jessefreidin.com. I'd love to hear from you.