A few months ago I came across a call for entries by the National Museum of Animals and Society for their Fundraiser Exhibition: BUNNYMANIA. I had pet rabbits as a child and have always been a sucker for those sweet, soft, floppy-eared creatures. Since I had some time before the deadline I thought it might be a good time to shoot some new work. I posted this message on Facebook: L.A. friends, do any of you have a pet rabbit or know anyone who does? I knew the chances were slim, but wouldn't you know, my friend Anna introduced me to the Grazioso family who have an indoor pet rabbit named Dave.
Dave is not just any rabbit, he's an unbelievably photogenic Flemish Giant rabbit. I was smitten the moment I saw him. So big and fluffy. He weighs almost 25 pounds! His favorite snacks are strawberries, blackberries and chard, and I was told he broke into a box of sweet potatoes one time and had a little solo feast.
While we waited for the girls to get home from school, Claudia shared a few of her favorite Dave stories with me.
"My favorite Dave story is when he first realized he could easily jump the gates we put up in the kitchen. One night, I woke up to thumping. I woke my husband and he turned on the light to go investigate and then shouted and jumped back. Dave had run up the stairs and was standing on his hind legs right next to Peter's side of the bed -- and since Dave is so big, they were pretty much eye level! Dave was rather pleased with himself, and then took off running around our upstairs, evading capture for a good long while."
And this one?!!
"We had friends over one night and had neglected to mention that we have an enormous rabbit who just kind of runs free-range style around the house. After we had had a glass of wine or two, Dave hopped by, stopped next to our guest, stood on his hind legs, extended to his impressive height, looked at him, sniffed the air a little, and then continued on his hop around the house. Our friend paused for a moment, then looked at me a little stunned and asked, "Did -- did that just happen?"
Dave made my job easy, when he stayed still that is. Sudden bursts of energy resulted in a flurry of hopping all over the place and when he tired himself out it was snuggle time. When Esme + Addie bounded in from school, Dave went hopping right over to greet them. Having a family dog is pretty commonplace, but a family rabbit? Not so much. It could not have been more obvious, Dave is the perfect pet for this family. I can't thank them enough for sharing him with me.
I'm happy to report the first photograph below was selected for BUNNYMANIA, curated by Peter Frank and Delia Cabral. The exhibit will explore our perceptions of rabbits as individual beings, muses, companions, and as dynamic cultural symbols. There will be two HOP UPS (<-- how cute is that?), so please visit the event link for all the details. I hope to see you there.