Andy Biggar - dog photographer

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 September 2016

Andy Biggar dog photographer

Andy Biggar dog photographer

not Archant

Andy Biggar from Malpas has travelled the globe taking photographs of man’s best friend. Rebekka O’Grady chats to the photographer about his passion.

Andy Biggar dog photographerAndy Biggar dog photographer

Following his border collie cross around with a film camera as a teenager, Andy Biggar never imagined that 30 years later he would travelling the world taking photographs of adored pooches, with a host of awards to his name.

‘I used to experiment taking colour and black and white photos of my dog with my film camera, that’s where it all began. I have loved dogs all of my life, and I love seeing the magical, special looks they give you with their beady eyes.’

Over the past eight years, Andy has travelled around the UK and Europe, and even across to America and the United Arab Emirates, taking photos of families and their four-legged friends.

‘The family of the president of UAE flew me out to take photos of their dogs, and I stayed in the presidential palace,’ said Andy, who lives in Malpas with his partner and fellow photographer Amy Marks. The pair have just welcomed their newborn Lottie into the world, and they run the photography business together from their 17th century farmhouse.

Andy Biggar dog photographerAndy Biggar dog photographer

‘I now have a great relationship with the president’s family and when they have travelled to London I’ve done photoshoots in Hyde Park. I love every shoot I do, seeing the client’s faces when they view the images. Each job is special in its own way.’

For Andy, his goal is to create something that people will treasure, remembering precious memories of their pets. His passion for animals and photography is translated into the stunning images, capturing the individual character of each dog and often its owners.

‘It’s a privilege to make those memories for people. Dogs, like us, aren’t here forever and they’re often seen as another family member. For many people, their dogs are their world, and it’s becoming much more of an interest for people to be a part of the photos too.’

Although Andy is now an award-winning established photographer, it was a life-changing event at the age of 38 that made him get behind the lens once again.

Andy Biggar dog photographerAndy Biggar dog photographer

‘I went off to college and even studied photography as part of the course I was on, but life got in the way and I left photography behind for a career in the corporate world.

‘I was a financial adviser and the stresses of the job resulted in me suffering a stroke. It took six to seven months to recover and as part of that recovery process I decided to start photographing dogs again. I didn’t want to go back into that corporate environment.’

Turning a negative part of his life into a positive, Andy began taking thousands of images of his own three dogs, labradors Jet and Bracken and Staffordshire bull terrier, Blue, before deciding to enter into the Dog Photographer of the Year, run by The Kennel Club of Great Britain.

‘The first year I won a place, which gave me a great boost in confidence. I then decided to travel the country in a battered Land Rover taking and selling my photos. It was a great training ground. I entered again the next year and won two places.’

It was at that point and a pivotal phone call with The Kennel Club that Andy decided to turn professional: ‘They have been so supportive. I’ve had so much support from many people along the way. This year I had my own stand at Crufts, which is a dream come true.’

His diary for the rest of the year is fully booked with photoshoots and he also runs photography classes and courses.

‘I could never have imagined eight years ago that I would be doing what I’m doing now. From one shoot a week to two a day six days a week – you have to pinch yourself. I just love doing it as a family too. Lottie will hopefully follow in our footsteps, I am sure some of those photographer genes will go to her. That would be the icing on the cake.’

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