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Licking Dogs: Ty Foster On His New Book “LICK”

Dogs lick. They give kisses, they stick their tongue, and they give you wet ones to get your attention. Don’t you love it? I do! Dog licks are the best.

Photographer Ty Foster agrees as do the cool California creators over at Knock Knock who have published LICK, a book of photos Ty took of dogs sticking their tongues out. What are the photos of? Dogs licking! How great does this sound? Really great! To celebrate how wonderful this concept is, I connected with Ty to ask him about what goes into a lighthearted dog loving book dedicated like LICK.

(Also, enjoy the amateur photography photo shoot of my dog Scooter modeling with the book. He loves it! Also, wouldn’t this book make a great gift for a dog lover? It would. I can tell you it would be a great gift because I can see into the future: I will be gifted this book more than once. It’s a good one!)

TY FOSTER LICK KNOCK KNOCK JEN BILik santa monica dogs dog photography puppy lick dog kisses 1234KYLE5678 rat terrier chihuahua 2

TY FOSTER LICK KNOCK KNOCK JEN BILik santa monica dogs dog photography puppy lick dog kisses 1234KYLE5678 rat terrier chihuahua tongue

Your work photographing dogs mid-lick kind of happened by accident and involved peanut butter. What do you think your (dog) subjects are thinking as you photograph them? Are they aware of you taking their picture or are they just in the zone licking peanut butter off their teeth?

I am not sure if any of them are aware that I am actually taking their picture, or aware of the concept of picture taking but some definitely are aware of the studio lights we use since they flash everytime we take a picture. However, most of the dogs we photograph are so in the zone with the peanut butter that nothing we are doing is phasing them.

What’s the process of casting dog models? Do you have them lick you or is it breed aesthetics first, then lick? Do you need a casting assistant? I can make time to help out.

Hahah: if I ever need a casting assist, I’ll be sure to reach out! I try not to put any limiting qualifications on any of the dogs except for obedience. We certainly strive to have obedient enough dogs that they’ll at least sit in studio. We’ve had a few that [got] a little crazy but nothing we couldn’t handle.

Of all the dogs you have met and photographed, do you remember which one gave the best licks?

I guessed you’d have to define ‘best lick,’ but—for me—it’s a dog who commits to sticking their full tongue out paired with a great expression.

Related: a lot of people call dog licks “kisses.” Do you think that is an inaccurate description? Are you pro-kiss or anti-kiss?

I’d have to say I am anti-“kiss.” I don’t think I’ve ever referred to it as kisses, but to each their own!

TY FOSTER LICK KNOCK KNOCK JEN BILik santa monica dogs dog photography puppy lick dog kisses 1234KYLE5678 rat terrier chihuahua boston terrier pancakes

TY FOSTER LICK KNOCK KNOCK JEN BILik santa monica dogs dog photography puppy lick dog kisses 1234KYLE5678 rat terrier chihuahua french bulldog viszla

This will be like choosing a child, I know, but which photo is your favorite? Is there one lick-able photo that you feels captures the spirit of LICK the most?

I’d have to say Pancakes is my favorite. His expression is priceless.

That’s the crazy Boston Terrier photo above, by the way. Anyway, are there any other projects we should be on the lookout for? Are there any LICK sequels being planned?

I have a few projects in the works right now, including a sequel to LICK. Stay tuned!

For more on Ty, check out his website. You can—And should!—buy LICK right now: check it out here. I’m telling you: this is a wonderful holiday gift to give dog dudes and dudettes.

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