There was a lot of love lost after his divorce, but Rafael Mantesso found companionship - and an incredible subject for photographs - in his dog Jimmy.
Rafael Mantesso is a gifted Brazilian artist who found himself with virtually nothing left after his divorce. That is, except for Jimmy, his bull terrier.
The dog is all Rafael really wanted anyway. Together since Jimmy was 40 days old, Rafael and Jimmy are the best of friends. Keeping Jimmy was never even really a question in the divorce. Both parties knew Jimmy would be better off in Rafael’s hands.
Keeping Jimmy, who is named after famed shoe designer Jimmy Choo, ended up being one of the best moves of Rafael’s life.
Left in an empty apartment with bare white walls, Rafael was inspired one day to include Jimmy in his creations - photos and illustrations that range from whimsical to tongue-in-cheek.
The inspiration for photos with Jimmy comes from the mundane - doing daily tasks like driving have inspired some of Rafael’s best creations. Of course, it helps that Jimmy is comfortable in front of the camera and is well-trained. In fact, Jimmy loves the spotlight and relishes in captivating attention.
There is a method to the picture-taking madness, however. Rafael usually photographs Jimmy late at night - near midnight - when the studio benefits from the darkness outside and the cooler temperatures. It’s when Jimmy is tired as well, so it makes for a much smoother photo shoot.
But don’t think that there are daily photo sessions with Jimmy. While Rafael might take 10 photos of Jimmy one day, sometimes he will go an entire week without taking a single image.
At the end of the day, the work Rafael does with Jimmy shows the incredible love and bond between man and his best friend. The power of the pooch - and of photography - to heal, to bring happiness, and to have fun, should not go unnoticed either.
The dynamic connection between man and beast most certainly has not gone unnoticed in the public eye. Rafael’s Instagram account has 433,000 followers, Jimmy has his own online store, and Rafael’s book A Dog Named Jimmy is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Heck, even Sandra Choi, creative director for the Jimmy Choo brand took notice of Rafael’s work and commissioned him to create a series of illustrations for a limited edition Jimmy Choo collection of tote bags and iPhone accessories.
Keep tabs on Rafael and Jimmy!
Image credits: Photographs by Rafael Mantesso and used with permission