Photographic Pets


UPAA Blog 2021-22 #4- 10/21/21 (text and photos as noted) This is an expanded version of an article that appears in the 2021 Contact Sheet, the UPAA annual magazine.

Pet names often reflect their humans’ passions. There are probably more than a few musicians who have a cat or dog named"Elvis" in the family…Or pilots with a “Piper,” or motorcycle enthusiasts with a “Harley.” (And to be honest, every other Notre Dame fan has a dog named "Rudy," "Rockne" or "Gipper.") You get the idea. No surprise, then, that many UPAA members have given their pets names inspired by people and things from the photography world. Here are a few:

Trix the Dog.jpg

Tri-X, David Campbell, Alabama State University:

My dog’s name is Trix, a 7-year-old mountain cur named after Tri-X film. (This photo was made on Tri-X of course!) We pronounce it like “Tricks” or just say “Trixie” but her tag has it spelled “TriX.” Her big brother is Elliott Erwitt but just goes by Elliott. I also have a cat named “Hornet” which is the ASU nickname.


JPEG the Dog.jpg

JPEG, Peter Frey, University of Georgia:

JPEG is a mixed breed dog I found on the side of the road in Athens, GA on August 9th, 2007. He literally ran up and jumped into the passenger seat of my car when I opened the door for him. Not really prepared to home a puppy, I took him into the office the following morning, where Robert Newcomb, one of my colleagues at the time, saw him and asked about a name and said he always thought “JPEG” would be good name for a dog. I concurred. It was especially suitable since Amy, my partner, was in California that week and I was sending her photos of him over the weekend. She already knew him as jpg-01, jpg-02, jpg-03 etc. I think the best joke about his name was from a graphic designer friend who determined that JPEG needed “more compression” when he got out of hand and barked at him during a visit. In addition to “JPEG” he also responds to “Booboohead” or “Boo”.


Sebastian (Salgado) the Cat.jpg

Sebastian (Salgado), Lora Gordon, Radford University:

I got him from a neighbor as a kitten. He fit into my two hands and weighed at most 5 pounds (I always laughed that he was 3 pounds with 2 pounds of fleas). A gorgeous orange and white cat and a true love bug. I was trying to think of a name when a friend suggested I name him for someone or something in my field. Having lived in Connecticut a few years earlier, I had frequented the International Photography Center in NYC in my free time. Salgado's work was very big at the time and had become some of my favorite and thus the name. That, and for me to stand on my back porch yelling “Weegee!” would have really freaked out my neighbors. (Learned at an early age to name pets names you don't mind yelling from your back porch!)


Flash the Cat.jpg

Flash, Robert Jordan, Ole Miss (retired):

A coworker found a tiny kitten in the road outside our office many years ago and I took him home. I wanted to give him a photo-related name. I considered and dismissed names like Aperture, F-stop, Dektol, Nikon, etc. and then it came to me: Flash! It’s photo-related he was a really fast kitten and his full name is Flash Jordan.


Kodachrome the Cat.jpg

Kodachrome, Bennett Scarborough, Campbell University:

He arrived a month or two after Kodak announced they were stopping production of Kodachrome. So it just seemed appropriate to name him after the film. He was a high-strung bobtail cat with lots of energy. Koda loved being under blankets and was quick to express himself.


Gizmo the Dog.jpg

Gizmo, Jessica Bartlett, California State University Chico:

How many times have you referred to an item in your bag as a ‘gizmo?’ Well, here’s Gizmo the dog.


Ansel Eisie and Maggie.jpg

Ansel, Eisie and Maggie, Tim Schoon, University of Iowa:

Ansel (obviously named after Ansel Adams) was my first-ever dog. He was left on the porch of a friend of a friend with a note that read, "Find me a good home." We were that home until he died in 2004. I've always been a fan of Ansel Adams, but talking to my dog named Ansel every day reignited my interest in the work of the original Ansel who remains a favorite to this day.

After a brief stint with a cat, we got Maggie in 2005. Maggie is a popular dog name, but ours is named after Margaret Bourke-White. She's getting old, but still brings us much joy.

Eisie, the other black dog (not sure why I made that mistake twice, impossible to photograph) was with us from 2010 to 2018. He's named after Alfred Eisenstaedt who went by the nickname "Eisie." I'd always been a fan of his and many of the older Life magazine photographers.

As Maggie gets older, my wife has started looking to who might come next. She's mentioned that she thinks Leica would be a cute name for a dog, but I see no way to have a dog named Leica without having a Leica of my own...


"A man goes into a library and asks for a book about Pavlov's dog and Schrodinger's cat. The librarian says, 'It rings a bell but I don't know whether it's there or not.'" ...Yeah, that was a stretch. Got a better joke? Email editor Matt Cashore, Follow UPAA on Instagram!