This Artist Has Turned Dog-Inclusive Family Portraits Into Fine Art ‘Family-scapes’

Tamara Bahry’s photos capture families & their pets in site-specific moments of joy & togetherness

By The Get Leashed Pet Culture Sponsorships Team

Much to the relief of discerning pet parents everywhere, the abundance of pet photography that has evolved beyond the dreaded “1990s-glamour-shot-look” has increased exponentially over the past few years. Instagram is now dotted with cutesy, stylized and even ironic examples of both professional, and would-be photogs, whose work is centralized around people and their pets.

Still, what remains a rarity, and has become increasingly more sought after, is to be photographed by a true artist. Someone who is able to turn that pic of you and your pet into a genuine work of art.

But what it is that makes an artist? How is it that this gifted few of us are able to pull together light and color in such a way that the world is somehow left a bit more beautiful as a result?

If you ask Tamara Bahry these questions, she’ll tell you that “it’s just something you can feel, once you’re able to see the big picture.” And it’s certainly been her remarkable ability to perceive that “big picture” that has guided her to international acclaim as a force to be reckoned with in the world of art, philanthropy and beyond.

Coming from a family of photographers, Bahry took to documenting the world around her at only four years of age. Even early on, it was apparent to all, that she had a gift for visual storytelling, with an eye for landscapes, and a passion for human and animal portraiture alike. In her years of working as professional artist, she meticulously honed her craft to develop what has become her trademark style. Through this, she transforms the lives of her subjects into whimsical vignettes, set upon the backdrop of their most loved places of comfort.

Reminiscent of the timeless society photography of Slim Aarons, combined with the playful artfulness of a Wes Anderson film set, Bahry’s pieces spill over with the joy and togetherness of modern family life. By transcending the predictable family photographs of yesteryear, her work has come to occupy a prominent space in the world of contemporary art.

“I’ve always loved all manner of photography. But ‘family-scapes’ where animals are included are definitely my favorite.” Says Bahry. “There is something so special about being granted an intimate look beyond the everyday experience of my subjects. Each family member is portrayed as a character within a wider narrative, which represents their personality, as they see it. So in its purest form, my work is really a collage of ‘micro-portraits,’ within the larger environmental context of what makes up a modern family – and dogs always play a special part in this. They are after all, the addition that makes a family complete for so many people.”

Bahry’s passion for pooches doesn’t end with her family portraits. She also shoots à la carte pet portraiture from her midtown, Toronto studio. Her photographs are bold and sophisticated with a touch of her signature playful charm. No glamour-shots here, friends! These photos are the very definition of personalized art.

In addition to portraiture, Bahry is a respected photographer of landscapes and wildlife. Her work has held placements in the Toronto Contact Festival, Toronto International Art Fair, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Furthermore, her pieces are showcased among corporate and private collections in Canada, the USA, South America, and Europe.

Her most recent project documented wildlife on the African savanna in richly saturated, black and white photos. She generously donated the proceeds from the sales of her work to several underlying charities in her personal foundation, the website of which is launching soon. Her present philanthropic roster includes: HART (Human Anti-Traffiking Response Team), Muskoka Lakes Bracelets, BOOST Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, WWF, and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Bahry lives and works in Toronto, Canada.  She is the proud owner of a 4 year old, Biton (a seldom encountered mix of Coton de Tulear and Bichon Frise), named Bella, who is a daily inspiration to her.

To inquire about a private in-studio pet photography session or for questions about on-location, contemporary family portraiture, please visit tamarabahry.com.