Photographer Karyn Millet: On Dogs

Karyn Millet is a photographer whose work has appeared in House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Interiors, Coastal Living, Luxe, The Los Angeles Times, and Conde Nast Traveler to name a few. A winner of the acclaimed “Stars of Design” Award for Photography and APA single image award winner, Millet introduced her fourth book, The Accidental Photographer: Dare to Do Something Different in 2013. She is currently working on a new book, a colorful account of India. Artist Francis Davis Millet who perished on the Titanic was her great, great uncle.

This is Daisy, our family dog. She lives with my mom in California at the beach. My mom loves everything red, white, blue, and nautical. The picture is framed in a black frame with a white matte. When my dad was in the hospital, we took that picture and propped it up in the chair so that when we left him at night, Daisy was always by his side. Daisy actually went to work with my father. He was a civil engineer, and Daisy would sit up on the drafting table and welcome the mailman. Dad and Daisy were real pals.

I’ll never forget my first dog Muffin. My parents adopted me on October 16th and they always told me: ‘The day we got you was the happiest day of our lives. You put your hand on your dad’s knee and we knew you were the one for us.’ It was the happiest day of my life too. Years later, I was shopping for groceries with my mom and I saw Muffin in a pet shop and I just had to have her. My parents decided we would adopt Muffin on October 16th and it became an even more special day, because it was also the day I got my first puppy. Getting Muffin taught me to understand what responsibility was. At first, Muffin followed my mom around and not me because she fed her and took care of her and I learned there was more to caring for a pet than having a cute puppy.

As I began to photograph more and more interiors, I became enchanted with the dogs in the houses I was shooting. Now, when I go on a shoot, if there is a dog, I’m intrigued. A dog is the perfect prop. There are often similarities between dogs and their owners. If the dog is really mellow, you can just tell it’s going to be a very easy homeowner. The dogs that are a little too aggressive don’t usually make it in the shot.

When I was hired by California Home + Design Magazine to shoot Jeff Lewis’s house, from Bravo’s Flipping Out, I couldn’t resist photographing his dog looking down the staircase. I turned around and there was the shot — I had to grab it! Dogs add an intimacy to the interiors. I always try to capture a dog in its environment when the opportunity allows. 

For more Karyn Millet, visit her website, her shop, or follow her on instagram @karynmillet. All photos courtesy of Karyn Millet.


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