It's hard not to feel awesome when you pass by a dog sticking its head out of a car window, enjoying the breeze and the sunshine. Hoping to encapsulate that joy, Los Angeles photographer, artist, and dog lover Lara Jo Regan began documenting the canine splendor and all its glory in a new photo series she's aptly titled, "Dogs in Cars."
The project began simply as an idea for a calendar. It became so much more.
"I have three dogs myself, and they love to go for car rides," Lara tells the Good News Blog. "One of my specialties as an artist is photographing animals, and I just thought, 'Hmm, dogs hanging their heads out the window ...' It's the ultimate happiness of dogs and happiness in general. Everybody can relate to it."
The idea seemed obvious, he process, however, was quite complicated. Each photograph involved three players: Lara; a driver; and a person to hold the dog. Lara built a special light, which jutted out over the roof of the car in order to provide depth to the photos.
At one point, Lara tried strapping herself to the roof, but ended up building a special harness that would allow her to lean out of the car.
"The trickiest part was not the dogs, it was the contortions I had to get in to shoot," she recalls. "I found my Motrin intake increasing after each shoot!"
From her own dogs to her neighbor's dog to strangers' dogs she solicited on Craigslist, Lara's experiment turned into a six-month endeavor, which began going viral this year. Now, she's creating a book.
"You get an idea, and you have certain notions, but when you start doing it, you realize all these other things present themselves," Lara explains.
First and foremost, Lara aims to share happiness with others. She hopes that her images will cheer up an otherwise bland afternoon in an office cubicle, or an average evening at home. The main goal is to "capture the primal joy of a dog's expression during car rides," and pass that on to others.
"I just want to make people happy and bring a smile to their face," Lara comments. "Dogs make people happy, and it's an infectious joy when they're in the car … It's sort of the way humor does. Dogs are happy makers."
Lara's favorite shot? The three pugs. She laughs thinking of a funny comment someone made about it on the Internet. "They said it reminded them famous picture of Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill!"
Just look at these faces, and tell us your day isn't better.
More of the Good News:
The Face of Pure Joy: Check Out These shelter Dogs' Freedom Rides to their New Homes
Photographer Helps Shelter Dogs Get Adopted with Stunning Photographs
Homeless Dogs Get a Second Chance with Hope for Paws