Los Angeles-based animal photographer Grace Chon received a call for a very exciting assignment. The public relations firm, Golin Harris, wanted to know if Grace was available to shoot a very special subject for their new Nintendo of America campaign. They’d landed their first “spokesdog,” and wanted a pro to shoot him, especially since this wasn’t any old dog, but the hugely famous and popular, Uggie.
Haven’t heard of Uggie yet? Well, he’s pretty much the most famous dog in the world right now. Uggie’s been in several movies including Water for Elephants and Mr. Fix It, but it’s his most recent role in the (multiple) award-winning film The Artist that’s skyrocketed Uggie to global stardom. The Artist—and Uggie—stole the show throughout award season, capping it all off with this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.
Grace of course quickly said yes to the assignment and the shoot was scheduled for two days after the Academy Awards. She says that it was “very exciting to photograph Uggie so soon after the huge win.” And even with the whirlwind media tour Uggie was in the middle of—The Oscars, The Ellen Show, USA Today, etc—he was ready to go once he hit the set. Grace says, “Uggie was an absolute pro and a true doggie delight.”
While on the shoot, Grace also got an interesting surprise,
Uggie’s owner and trainer, Omar Von Mueller, asked me at the shoot how he knew me and where we’d worked together before. I honestly was surprised he asked me that because I could have sworn I’d never met the man in my life! But it turns out we DID work together before, a year earlier on a Purina shoot, except Omar had a totally different dog with him (a beagle named Scamper) and obviously when I shoot, I’m paying attention to the dog and not the trainer working behind me. It’s pretty common for me to remember the dogs instead of the people they’re with. (I’ve never forgotten a dog’s face!) I’m pretty sure if Omar showed up to set with Scamper, I totally would have remembered him. I also have to add that Omar is THE nicest guy in the world. All this crazy Oscar stuff has not gone to his head one bit. And it hasn’t gone to Uggie’s head either.
With such a great subject, crew, and photographer, the shoot went quite smoothly. Grace even learned a new trick herself: when a dog gets tired on set, a little piece of McDonald’s chicken nuggets will perk him right up. She was able to get all the shots she needed for the Nintendo team, plus a few extra adorable pics. The clients loved the images and according to Grace, “there was a lot of “awwws” and squealing going on, which is always a good sign.”