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When I needed inspiration for Goodwin, I knew that Beatriz Duran was the one to ask. She took the photographs of “Goodwin”, whose name in real life is Sophia.

Sofia. Photo credit: Beatriz Duran

Sofia. Photo credit: Beatriz Duran

She was living at Miss Kitty’s when Bea worked there as a volunteer.
When she sent me the photo, I know she would serve as the model for Goodwin.

I’m talking with Bea today about her work:

Bea, Your love for animals comes through your work so beautifully – how do you capture their personalities so well on film? Is there a process you use to get BeaBlogPhotothem camera-ready?
Thank you! But I must admit it’s not all that easy. I guess I have a lot of patience especially when it comes to animals. I envision a scene and know I want the image to look a certain way. So I work with the animal and there are many trials & errors. Some animals are very camera shy, like some people, so I have to think of what might work with that particular animal and go from there. My cat and best friend Gabriel, was the best model I have ever worked with. He was patient, and worked with me. He never ceased to amaze me with his modeling skills. It’s as though he knew what I envisioned and worked to help me produce such an image. He was by far my favorite subject matter to photograph. I learned a lot about animal portraiture from him, that cat always had a lesson to teach.

In my book, my main character, Goodwin, is much more than a family pet – he has an extraordinary ability. As an advocate for animals, how would you tell people that animals are much more than just pets?
I view animals and humans as equals. I don’t believe they are our pets, they’re our family. We can learn so much from animals. If more people realized that and treated them with respect, as they do us, I think society would much happier. I treat them the way I treat people. I don’t believe there is a separation between people and animals. They make my life more enjoyable, simply just by being themselves. They’re free and pure and I admire them for that. We have so much to learn from them.

What inspired you to combine photography and jewelry-making?
Well when I was younger my brother and I would make all sorts of jewelry every summer before school would start. So I’ve always admired jewelry, and been influenced by the more obscure designs; and I’ve been interested in photography since I was very young. As time went on and I learned a little more about each medium I discovered that I like them both when they’re combined. Two of my most beloved pieces of jewelry were bought at thrift and antique stores. One is an image of a family etched into metal. The other is of the Victorian era of an elderly man; it’s a tiny photo of a bearded man’s head encased between two pieces of glass. It has a beautiful golden frame. What I love about those pieces is the unknown story behind the images and knowing that those people must have really meant something to someone, enough to have them immortalized in a piece of jewelry. That’s what I like to create, anonymous stories within a wearable piece of jewelry.

One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is the ring you made with a photo of my children’s faces. Tell us about your jewelry. Do you still do custom work, and does that include photo jewelry of pets as well?
My jewelry is a combination of my photographs and designs. I’ve finally combined the two things I love the most, photography and jewelry. I like to create wearable art and I’m able to do so by combining photographic images with jewelry. Yes I’m still taking custom orders. I’ve recently had a friend of mine ask me to design a piece of her and her beloved dog whom recently passed away. I take these orders very seriously as I know they’re very meaningful works of memorial art. These types of pieces are keepsakes, and I know mean a lot to the customer so I take great pride in the effort and detail that goes into each piece.

BeaArtForBLogYou are a woman of many talents and have such a passion for animals; do you have any more projects on the drawing board?
Oh I always have many projects scurrying around my head. I have many “idea notebooks” lying around that are full of ideas. It just takes me so long to accomplish any of those projects. I don’t know what it is, but it takes me ages to produce new work. I really need to find a way to use my time more wisely so I can accomplish more. I’m the type of person that can’t sit still too long, or take a day off. I feel like I’m wasting my time, when there’s so much to do. So keep an eye out for new photographic images and jewelry designs.


Today and tomorrow, The Guardians is free on amazon! Go here to get it: http://amzn.to/Z3bcwP

For the start of this blog series, go here. 

Check in tomorrow – more to come.