‘You’re purchasing an artwork’: Dog photographer to the stars offers portraits for $1,000

A portrait artist with an affinity for dogs is offering her services as part of the Polygon Gallery’s Dog Days photo exhibition. But getting a one-off professional portrait of your furry friend won’t be cheap — the fee is $1,000.

Shari Hatt isn’t strictly a K-9 photographer, but she says she’s been somewhat pigeonholed over the years. And, well, she does like dogs.

“I love dogs, I love dogs so much,” said Hatt, who’s based in Montreal, but will be at the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver for portrait sessions on Sunday.

“You’re purchasing an artwork, you’re not purchasing a picture of your dog — it’s an edition of one, signed by the artist,” she said.

Justin Ramsey, assistant curator at the gallery, holds Hatt’s work in high regard: five of her portraits are currently hanging as part of the exhibition.

Three of the portraits done by artist Shari Hatt include, from left to right: Timmy, UK Portraits, 2009; Max, UK Dog Portraits, 2009; and Millie, UK Dog Portraits, 2009. (Shari Hatt)

“We have four dog portraits that she’s done and then another portrait … of her late Chihuahua, who was very much an artistic muse and collaborator with her on many of her works,” said Ramsey.

He said Hatt photographs various subjects, but her work with dogs stands out.

“She has a unique affinity with dogs and this has been recognized — the Duke and Duchess of York had her photograph their dogs, the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen had his dogs photographed by Shari Hatt in these sort of commemorative portraits,” said Ramsey. “It’s quite the rapport that she has with the animals.”

The Polygon Gallery exhibition, Dog Days, is K-9 friendly and runs until Sept. 8. (Polygon Gallery)

Some may balk at the price tag for a session with Hatt, but she’s perfectly comfortable charging $1,000 for a 16″ x 16″ photograph.

“Normally it’s more — it’s double that. If I go to somebody’s house and do it at their house, I charge $2,000,” she said.

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