San Franciscans are no exception when it comes to treating their pets like children. A weekend morning walk up Fillmore will yield sights of brunch-goers hunched over omelettes, fluffy Bichon Frise in lap, getting in on the meal with hand-fed bites. Photographer Kira Stackhouse is turning our love for our pets into a business, Nuena Photography, by photographing the furriest members of our families.
SCOUT: Where’s the name Nuena from?
KIRA: I’ve been programming websites since I was 15, and that was one of the domain names I grabbed way back then. The name itself was inspired by the Brigette Bardot song Nue Au Soleil. When I started developing my business, I figured why not use one of the domains I already had, so I started building on that one. I also thought it would be easier to brand my business with Nuena because it’s unique, so it was unlikely someone else was already using the name.
SCOUT: What are your goals for Nuena Photography?
KIRA: I’ve shot weddings and portraits and other stuff like that, but what I really want to focus on is pet photography. It’s a fairly new industry, so people aren’t looking at it as a must-have quite yet, but it’s definitely starting to catch fire.
SCOUT: What do you love about photography ?
KIRA: I like that photography is about composing something unique. It’s not just about having a nice camera and snapping some photos. Everyone has a different experience within the same experience, and that’s how I set up my photos; it’s my interpretation of that particular moment.
SCOUT: Tell us more about Project DOG...
KIRA: I wanted to make a photo book, but not just any old photo book. I wanted mine to have a social component to it, so I started working on Project DOG last April. Its goal is to bring together the worlds of purebred and rescue dogs, which can sometimes be very separated. My goal is to photograph all 173 A.K.C recognized breeds, one dog being a purebred dog, and one dog being a rescue dog. I want it to be almost a social networking tool for owners. Right now I’m still in the search phase, looking for dogs all over the country to photograph. I’m also contacting possible sponsors, like car companies, hotel chains, to help me complete my project. I’m getting a ton of submissions every day, so I should have all the dogs lined up pretty soon, and then I’ll spend about 6 months traveling around the country taking photos.
SCOUT: You have another cool, local project called Secret Sessions...
KIRA: Secret Sessions is more people-geared, but of course you’re welcome to bring your dog along. For Secret Sessions, every week I announce a location on Twitter and Facebook and I do 5-minute photo shoots for $25. You also get a 5x5 print of your choosing and all the images. Last week I held the session on a pier and photographed a woman who grew up in the city but had never been to that particular area. I thought it was awesome that I found a spot a native San Franciscan didn’t even know about!
SCOUT: What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
KIRA: I like Eddie Rickenbacker’s at 2nd and Minna. It’s like an old-timey, divey-style bar. There are motorcycles dangling from the ceiling. It’s a cool atmosphere. I also like Arizmendi, which just opened up a spot in The Mission. It’s a declicious co-op bakery that features a different pizza every day. It’s so good. They use organic sour dough crust to make their pizzas.
SCOUT: Where can people see more of your work and find out about all the cool stuff you’ve got going on?
KIRA: You can see a wide range of my portfolio on my site, Nuena Photography and info about Project Dog and Secret Sessions can be found on the Nuena Blog.