When Brian Moss began casually taking photos of the bodybuilders working out at his NYC gym, he had no idea that the hobby would grow into a passion, a career, and a way to nurture his love for animals. Nearly 20 years later, Moss has reinvented the way bodybuilders are photographed and many of his images have earned iconic status within the genre.
As much as he loves making his living in the fitness industry, Moss found himself searching for a way to use his talents to benefit his other great passion – animal rescue. He found the prospect of volunteering at a high-volume/high-kill shelter too overwhelming, so when he came across a small, no-kill shelter in New Jersey two years ago, Moss jumped at the chance to help out. The Bergen County Protection and Rescue Foundation‘s motto is “Giving pets a second chance at life,” and Moss is helping them to do just that.
Every time a new dog arrives at the shelter, he goes to work setting up a makeshift “studio” between a sink and a leaky washing machine. Moss’ goal is to capture the unique soul in each pup’s eyes. When potential adopters view his photos, he wants them to see their true personalities. Whether they are silly, sad, soulful or stoic, Moss believes every dog deserves a loving home. Through his art, he is giving these dogs the exposure they need to win the hearts of their forever families.
Recently, the shelter participated in the rescue of 40 dogs from a local hoarding situation. Moss photographed all 20 puppies and 20 adults one by one, realizing the magnitude of the situation with each animal pulled from the home and each snap of the camera. Moss strives to portray the dogs to potential adopters without them seeing labels like “abused,” “neglected” or “abandoned.” He shoots them with their hearts on their furry sleeves in the hopes that they’ll be viewed as potential family members instead of just stray dogs.
Moss may be a tough guy on the surface – he’s a weightlifter who favors ripped jeans and cutoff tees – but when it comes to shelter dogs, he’s a teddy bear. He has volunteered his photography skills to The Bergen County Shelter every week for two years now. Moss believes that every shelter and rescue organization can benefit from this crucial tool for promoting adoption, and he urges other animal loving shutterbugs to volunteer their services. Whether you are a respected professional or a passionate amateur, your photos can mean the difference between life and death for homeless dogs.
View more of Moss’ stunning photographs on Instagram and the Shelter Dog page of his website. Follow him on Facebook to see his latest shots of adoptable dogs in the NY/NJ area. Moss also has a website chronicling his Steinbeck-esque road trips with his beloved rescued Pit Bull, Angel. (That’s Angel posing with Moss and licking his face in the first two shots.)
Featured Image via @BrianMoss/Facebook