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Wedding Photographer Moonlights as Dog Activist

By // June 12, 2013 // Posted in Featured Articles, Industry News, Photography, Portrait

Many wedding photographers cannot claim their work ultimately saved a life, but that’s not the case with Tracey Buyce.

The Saratoga Springs, NY native and WPPI member is known for her engagement and wedding portraits, but she serendipitously expanded her repertoire to dog photography after taking an eye-opening vacation to Cancun, Mexico, with her husband back in 2011. Buyce couldn’t help but be shocked by the neglected, malnourished dogs roaming the outskirts of their resort. Earlier this year, the wedding photographer returned to Mexico and decided to take action, lens first.

Luna

Mexico, 2013 © Tracey Buyce

Buyce joined CANDi International, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, eventually becoming its official volunteer photographer, taking photographs of stray dogs around CANDi’s spay/neuter clinic and the streets of Mexico to raise awareness. On her first day, Buyce says she crossed paths with hundreds of stray dogs, but one stood out from the others.

Luna

Mexico, 2013 © Tracey Buyce

The dog Buyce came to call Luna was discovered to be dying of starvation and cancer at the time. The staggering images she captured confront you: A bony, emaciated sand-colored dog wandering the neighborhood, her bulbous ribcage protruding and her head seemingly too heavy to lift. These images, soon to be accompanied by more, prompted the care (and eventual happy ending) for Luna.

Luna

Mexico, 2013 © Tracey Buyce

Luna

Mexico, 2013 © Tracey Buyce

Buyce convinced Luna’s caretaker to release her to CANDi, which facilitated the immediate care Luna needed to save her life and treat her of her cancer. Minutes after Buyce posted about Luna on Facebook, a fellow family from Saratoga Springs responded and adopted her.

On track to get her master’s in mental health counseling, Buyce changed course upon discovering her love for photography and started her own photo business, Tracey Buyce Photography. Buyce continues her work with CANDi and has two rescue dogs of her own, Roxy and Cassidy, as well as a shelter cat named Reese and a horse named Moose. She is currently working in upstate New York documenting modern dairy farms for a project, and she plans to return to Mexico in July for another photo project on street dogs.

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Libby Peterson

Libby Peterson

Libby Peterson is the associate editor of Rangefinder. She graduated from Indiana University’s School of Journalism last year and moved to New York, starting off as the magazine's editorial intern. Having had a full-immersion French education growing up in her native Minneapolis, she especially enjoys writing about culture, design, and the arts.

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