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Horsing around is all in a day’s work

Avid photographers and animal lovers, Victor Dinh and his wife Tianna Bertolo combined the two in a new calendar featuring photos of horses rescued by a Waterloo stable.

The project was a good fit, as they recently turned their decade-long love for the craft into a venture, launching Victor Rose Photography over the summer.

“This past year, we decided to take the plunge [and] start as a business. I left my day job. We opened our studio in north Waterloo, where we are currently leasing studio space. We mostly deal with portraits and pet photography – that’s kind of where our passions are,” said Dinh. 

Animal photography, a keen interest of the duo, has also been displayed in their new calendar that benefits a Waterloo horse rescue.

“Jackie [Michele], who runs Horseshoe Stable, and her husband Steve have actually been kind of in my orbit – I’m an equestrian – for some time,” noted Bertloo of her connection to the sanctuary. “The opportunity came up where we were able to help them out and do the shoots throughout the year and showcase a few horses and have a have something for them to put forward to people.”

Horseshoe Stable is located on Benjamin Road, not too far from Victor Rose Photography’s location. The operation focuses on slaughter-bound horses, giving them a new lease on life and providing them a new home. Dinh says Jackie was pleased by the duo’s effort.

“She was very happy with the calendar and the photos. She actually was so happy with that, that they brought their dogs into the studio to have photographs, and had family members come in as well.”

Photographing animals takes a certain amount of patience, as they aren’t always cooperative subjects. They don’t take direction, remaining still on command, making it a tricky task to avoid blurred images.

“It’s always an adventure,” explained Dinh, “The way we kind of do a lot of our animal photography –  like dogs or cats here in the studio, or horses at a barn – we actually bring studio light and equipment with us. And that kind of gives us a very unique look. In this case, with all the horses, it allows us to have that type of photo where the horse’s kind of pop out of a black background.”

The duo explains that setting up the strobes around the animals often takes a fair bit of time – long enough for the animals to become used to the photographers, typically.

“We just kind of give them the opportunity to see and understand that it’s not going to hurt them. They’re normally pretty calm through the actual shooting process once we’ve worked into that. But, yeah, it’s definitely an interesting experience. It’s something that most animals aren’t used to, but it just takes time and patience to kind of get that shot right.”

Dinh and Bertloo have expressed an interest in making the calendar an annual tradition if the stable is interested. They have also been reached out to by other organizations interested in similar products. With the pandemic ongoing, the duo can only operate through the commercial venue of things but are looking forward to servicing the region when time permits. 

More information about the calendar can be found online.

The cover image of the 2021 calendar in support of Horseshoe Stables. Submitted

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