by Lou Mancinelli
To celebrate its grand opening at its new 8517 Germantown Ave. location, pet boutique Bone Appetit (formerly located at 8505 Germantown Ave.) is exhibiting the pet photography of long-time photographer, teacher and mixed-media artist Lynn Rae Fenimore.
Her portraits of various dogs will run as a seasonally rotating cast in a permanent art installation at the store. Fenimore, 60, a Wynnewood resident, brings decades of photographic experience and stylistic development to a perhaps rather otherwise everyday photographic opportunity. Her finer shots reveal images of pets that almost tell a narrative. There is a longing there, and a delight.
For this series of photographs Fenimore shot close to her subjects using large lenses captured on black and white film. She later used an advanced scanner to transfer and ultimately print the images on large 48-inch by 36-inch canvases.
Fenimore, raised about 30 miles outside of New York City in Scotch Plains, N.J., came to Philadelphia to escape New York and studied printmaking at Moore College of Art. She earned her bachelor’s of fine arts in 1974 and four years later earned a second bachelor’s degree, this time an art teacher’s certification, also from Moore. Her career has been that of a teacher and single mother of two balancing her time off to work on her art, photography and otherwise.
“My main objective when I shoot an animal is to get their spirit,” said Fenimore, who has taught various workshops at Woodmere Art Museum and has been the art teacher at Chester County Community School for the past five years, during a recent interview.
The pet photos she has taken demonstrate the eye of a photographer with an intimate relationship with the domesticated. She developed her affinity for pet shots after the Blizzard of 1996, when, stuck in her house for two days she took to photographing Sydney, her Bloodhound. A few years later the same dog attacked her and bit off a part of her nose.
“It actually made me closer to them,” said Fenimore.
That closeness has been translated with her shots. Fenimore sometimes coaxes camera-shy dogs with toys and treats the same way young children sometimes require inspiration to sit still and perk up for the camera. But cats, once they become comfortable, are divas.
Once married, later divorced, Fenimore raised her two children, a boy and a girl, on her own. Once her parental responsibilities proved less consuming, she developed more of her art. A decade ago she started Lynn Rae Photography, found a niche and began taking photographs of friends and other clients’ pets and grew her business.
Throughout her career her photography has appeared in Black and White Magazine, and over the years her catalogue has grown to include shots of subjects from buildings to shots for the 2008 Obama campaign when the candidate made his trip to Independence Mall in Old City.
Her mixed media artwork can be viewed on Facebook and in her upcoming exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial, located at 719 Catherine St. in the Italian Market. Lynn also does volunteer work for Main Line Animal Rescue. (And she is also a distant relative of famed 19th century writer James Fenimore Cooper, whose most famous novel was “The Last of the Mohicans.”)
For more information visit www.lynnraephotography.com.