Marcos Garcia’s Poignant Pictures Tell The Story of Shelter Dogs
By: RubensteinLaw as Blog Post
It’s not every day we find ourselves with a real-life hero in our midst. But if you ask the dogs at Miami-Dade Animal Services Center, attorney Marcos Garcia is just that. With a closer look, it’s not surprising. By day Marcos works with us here at Rubenstein Law protecting and fighting for injured clients and their families. In his free time, he uses his camera to tell the story for those who can’t speak for themselves; Miami’s shelter dogs. His message is simple #AdoptDontShop. His project Stop Buying Dogs is a black and white documentary style collection of photos that are poignant, raw and often trigger a visceral reaction. We asked Marcos a few questions:
Your dog Obie (adorably documented under the hashtag #obiethedingbat) is a stray you found on a jog back in law school. What about growing up, did your family have pets?
We always had dogs growing up. My first dog was a stray. A Collie we creatively named Freebie.
What kind of camera do you use, and why?
I use a 28mm Leica. It has the same focal length as an iPhone. It’s smaller, lighter and nearly silent, unlike the more familiar Nikon and Canon cameras.
For your shelter photos, why do you choose black and white?
To me, black and white photography gives a more documentary feel and style to the collection. Color photos, which I also shoot, are more graphic and slick, creating a vastly different narrative.
Besides the dogs at MDAS, where else do you focus your lens?
Nature. Obie & I spend a lot of time in the Everglades camping, fishing and taking photos.
How did you become such a skilled photographer? Did you take classes?
I haven’t taken a structured class. I learned most everything through trial and error and YouTube videos.
Do you have advice for beginning photographers?
It may sound obvious, but just take pictures. Shoot as much as you can as often as you can - shoot everything, landscapes, people, animals, night versus day, still versus moving. You’ll figure out the types of images you like to capture and get better from there.
Back to the dogs at the shelter – even though your pictures aren’t always easy to look at, your affection for them is obvious. What’s the hardest part about volunteering at MDAS?
Shelters by their very nature are difficult. It’s sensory overload, with the metal clinking of cages, the whimpering, urine & disinfectant smells, and the cold, hard floors. Butby far the hardest part is watching people surrender their dog. Part of the process requires the owner to sign a form acknowledging that their dog could be euthanized. The reasons people surrender a pet are often trivial & heartbreaking: the dog digs holes, she barks or he has too much energy. It’s a dog that is what dogs do.
We are proud to have attorney Marcos Garcia on our team at Rubenstein Law. His photo expose Stop Buying Dogs has been covered in the NY Times photography blog, Lens, the Florida Bar News, CBS Miami, the FIU Alumni Spotlight and even pinned on Pinterest. Marcos’ work is currently on display at a private gallery in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood and plans for a public exhibition are in the works. In the meantime, to see more photos from the shelter, check out his color photography or meet Obie visit his Instagram @MarcosJavierGarcia.