What cute dogs!

Introducing Pacia Wan

Who doesn’t love a photo of a charming dog? Especially when we snap and share the adorable antics of our own furry companions. Now that high-quality digital cameras are as close as the smart phone in our pocket, it’s never been easier to get images of our dogs at every waking (and sweetly snoozing) moment. However, while taking a photo is one thing, capturing images that play up your pet’s best features or finest moments is something else. Sad to say, we all can take photos, but not all of us are photographers.

The portrait industry, and the chronicling of family memories, has been around since cameras were first invented. Most of us remember sitting for the annual holiday family portrait or for that cringe-worthy shot that ended up in the high-school yearbook. But dogs were never really part of the portrait industry. At the most they made sporadic appearances in the photos that commemorated birthdays, family outings and reunions.

But recently all that has changed; nowadays professional pet photographers abound and, for those moments you want perfect, nothing beats putting your little puppy before the lens of an expert.

We all know cute dog pictures when we see them. Great natural snapshots that appeal to our nurturing instincts or wild action shots that flood us with awe. People + pet moments to be cherished, be it a tender nose-to-muzzle greeting, a dynamic Frisbee catch or a goofy pup photo-bombing a selfie. And let’s not forget the posed portraits – designed to highlight a dog costume or placing a pet in an incongruous place or time.

All images courtesy of Pacia Wan

the secret behind the pacia wan magic

The dogs in a Pacia Wan portrait look like little kids spruced up for the annual school photo. Slightly bewildered yet eager to please, they prick up their ears and fan the air with their noses. Tails wag, eyes sparkle, they face the camera and with a click! Shinichi Mito captures their canine charm. According to Mito, his are not merely dog portraits, they portray “dogs as family”, reflecting the special place they occupy within their homes. 

Over ten years ago, Mito was a successful commercial photographer based in Tokyo. He enjoyed photographing his own miniature dachshund and it occurred to him that people might want to commemorate the appeal of their own canine companions. Taking an imaginative leap, he founded the company Pacia-Wan.

Mito captures their canine charisma with grace and imagination. Props and backgrounds place them in remote, romantic adventures that bounce off the aspirations and dreams of their human companions. Puppies pause amid frolic; seniors dignify the passage of time; purebreds and mutts alike strike regal poses. These are portraits to treasure – one swift moment in the lives they share with their dogs.

All images courtesy of Pacia Wan

The arrangement is simple: Mito books weekend engagements throughout the year at dog-friendly hotels and hot-spring spas all over Japan. When he started Pacia-Wan there were few such places, but in recent years many establishments have laid out the dog-welcome mat. Dogs and their people enjoy a relaxing vacation at the spot of their choice, and pop up at the portable studio and outdoor dog run for their booked session. He photographs some dogs in their natural state, but more often people bring along holiday-theme costumes or designer wear. They decide upon a background, along with the props best suited to the setting or occasion. Sessions are rapid, fun, and loaded with as much variety as a dog’s patience will allow. 

People often ask Mito to shoot a portrait of the entire household, and Mito assures us that these vignettes rival any traditional family portrait in warmth and solidarity. The acceptance of pets as part of the group reflects the changing nature of family as an institution in Japan. As reported in the Guardian newspaper, by 2012 Japan’s pet population had risen to 22 million, far more than the 16.5 million children under the age of 15. A growing population of young adults, whether single or partnered, are eschewing the life-changing responsibilities of having children. Yet many embrace the emotional benefits of caring for a four-legged companion. 

Appealing to the Japanese fondness for commemorative goods, Pacia Wan invites its clients to immortalise their family memories on an ample array of collectibles. Selected images personalise such objects as cups, stickers, kitchen linen, calendars, and carry-on luggage. Like pop-star merchandise, everyday items are elevated as mementos to a special experience shared with their pet and permanent reminders of their special place within the family.

All images courtesy of Pacia Wan

Take a moment to check out the Pacia Wan webpage at http://www.pacia.co.jp/ for an array of captivating images and personalised goods.

All images courtesy of Pacia Wan

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