Posted by Iain Robertson on

So what do we at Tens get up to at the weekends? Could be a bit of exercise (sometimes), partying with friends (definitely), getting some headspace in the outdoors... maybe trying out that new bar that has that new mango IPA we're really into right now. 

What about going up to strangers in the park and taking photos of their dog? Well, our community & operations manager Iain does just that! Inspired by popular account 'The Dogist', Iain spends the weekends wandering around our town of Glasgow and meets ALL THE DOGS.

Iain caught up with BBC recently to talk about his side-project, The Dugist...

When did you become the Dugist? Why did you start?

I’ve always been obsessed with Instagram. I found that most of the photos I was posting on my personal account were of dogs, so about a year and a half ago I started a new account that was just STRICTLY dogs, as I had enough content to keep a good flow. One of my favourite accounts on Instagram is The Dogist, it’s this guy in NYC that took the ‘Humans of New York’ theme and used it to document dogs. My account is basically just a Scottish rip-off of this. I’ll probably update the username soon if it grows, but it seems all the good dog-related usernames are taken!

Would you say there is a knack to it? Would you share some secrets as to how you get the perfect shot?

Not really, every dog is completely different, and you learn new behavioural traits each time. Some dogs are very good girls/boys and will just sit and stare straight down the lens - they’re the dream. Others - especially puppies - will run in circles and jump all over you with their muddy paws. Which, don't get me wrong, I love as well but in those situations I just need to make sure I take a LOT of burst ,shots with a high shutter speed. My camera shoots at 10 frames per second so I get the shot eventually. I’ve taken up to 200 photos of a single dog before to get the right one! Most people have a pretty decent digital camera in their pockets these days, I highly suggest using the burst feature on your smartphone and just going out there and taking as many photos of dogs as possible! People are usually delighted with the attention you give to their pups.

People say working with animals is a nightmare…how do you get them to stay still?

Funnily enough they become extremely curious when the camera shutter starts. As soon as the first click goes it gets their attention. To get their attention initially I basically just make high pitched whistling noises, and click / wave my fingers next to the lens to get them to look. From then they’re totally fascinated! Often the owners will have treats or toys on them so that can help too.

Always been into photography?

I always have been, and have always had a camera close by. It’s only really in the past few years I’ve gotten really into it. Instagram as a platform has helped inspire me to shoot more, it still is an incredible place to share and engage with a community.

Do you ever get paranoid if you have left your camera when out and about? (What happens if you miss that perfect dog shot)

I literally carry my camera with me everywhere. Wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without it! So nah!

What do your friends and family think? Supportive?

Yea they’re super supportive. My mum doesn’t even have Instagram but I send her all the originals via WhatsApp. It definitely does make me a bit distracted when I’m out with friends at the pub though. If I spot a cool dog from across the bar I’ll literally leave my group without notice and go make friends with it for a bit. Sorry pals!

What is the usual response?

It’s overwhelmingly positive, who doesn’t love dogs? Yea that was on the Facebook group Dogspotting (highly recommend joining), it’s always heartwarming to see hundreds of people tag their friends and partners in the photos. Sharing the dog love is what it’s all about really!

What do you love about dogs?

It’s the unconditional love and happiness. There’s a quote at the end of Marley & Me that always makes me cry…. "A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"

What’s the future for the Dugist? 

I’ll keep growing it, and hopefully one day I will have met all the dogs in Glasgow!

 

Follow @thedugist on Instagram.

Iain shoots on a Sony A7iii w/ 16-35mm

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