SIT!
SIT!
Portrait photographer Christine Johnson is making a new life and a new living after a devastating tragedy by asking her four-legged subjects to...
Angela Walton

Christine Johnson’s award-winning animal photographs can’t help but make you smile. Her sitters are beloved family pets whose portraits become treasured pieces of art. But Christine’s growing success is born out of a devastating personal tragedy. Ten years ago, she looked on as her partner Simon Sait drowned in a kayaking accident off Anglesey. Simon, a keen amateur photographer, had encouraged Christine to take pictures and after his death she found solace in picking up his camera.

Christine, who lives in Warrington and owns the ICpaws pet sitting business and Paws for a Photo photography company, is now collecting a string of accolades and has just been crowned Pet and Domesticated Animal Photographer 2020 by the British Photography Awards, for the Bubble Alert image of her collie, Star.

‘Simon and I met through our common interest in photography. He was really keen to become a photographer and I’d been into it for a while, so I wanted to help him,’ says Christine. ‘I set him up on Flickr doing a photo-a-day project and I joined in, running my own pictures alongside him.

‘My photos of my dogs were a bit rubbish back then, with legs chopped off,’ she laughs. ‘Simon was always pointing out ways for me to improve and it was clear from the start he was really good – he knew more than me in many respects. He had a great eye and we really enjoyed developing our skills together.’

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April 2020