Going To The Dogs
Lisa Saad faced a difficult physical and technical challenge to create this dramatic image, but through sheer perseverance, and the “dogged” efforts of a likeminded team, she succeeded!
I truly believe that in order to change your point of view you need to change your perspective. This image demonstrates my tenacious attitude towards my craft and also life in general.
I love the fact that I have the ability to create something from nothing and to continually push the boundaries past my wildest imagination. This image, The Mob, was shot at a greyhound track in Lara, Victoria. The image was a year-long project to shoot and complete, including all post-production. It’s a constructed image – each dog had to be photographed individually.
The technical challenge was to shoot each dog in motion whilst the camera (a Kodak DCS 35mm DSLR) was travelling backwards at 40-50kmh, firing on a programmed time of eight seconds with an approximate delay at the start.
The eight seconds of shooting could only be on the straight just before the first turn as the lure the camera was attached to would become too shaky and violent after that point. The camera was mounted in the position of the “rabbit” and was controlled by the lure operator to sit at a distance of approximately 1.2 metres from the lead dog.
Each group of four to five greyhounds were suited up in race gear and started in the gate as in a simulated race. The lure was fired up at different starting points until we could work out the correct sequence.
Time management was crucial because the greyhounds could only run once around the track and I had six starts with about 30 dogs available each time, and I could only stretch the owners’ helpfulness to experimenting with their greyhounds on four occasions. The first day was a disaster.
The camera ended up dropping to the bottom of the lure and being dragged in the sand! The second day wasn’t much better and I felt very frustrated as the rigging on the lure was failing. It couldn’t deal with the weight of the camera compared to its regular fluffy bunny! After much thought we reached day three after numerous phone calls to owners, track management and engineers who helped to sort a solution, and finally managed to secure the camera.
But the images weren’t ‘pin’ sharp and the greyhounds were still too far away in the distance. Finally, day four arrived. Nervous as I was, this was pretty much it, and after all that effort it worked!
I’m still blessed by the notion that not only did everyone at the scene participate on an idea, but I saw the idea fall into place and perform on its own through the power of everyone having the same goal and being determined to reach the same outcome, even though they had no idea what was really going on in my head. It’s the most outstanding feeling I’ve had to date!
To this day I’m still empowered by my determined attitude and I don’t believe there are any boundaries. If we would all just take the time to really see.
The Mob. (Camera: Camera Kodak DCS 35mm DSLR. Photo Montage.) Photo by Lisa Saad.