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14 perfectly timed photos of dogs jumping through the air

14 perfectly timed photos of dogs jumping through the air
  • Julia Christe, a German-based photographer, has created a brilliant photo series that gives the illusion of dogs leaping through the air.
  • The inspiration was born out of Christe's family farm, where she grew up surrounded by animals and her Spanish water dog, who would leap through the air to catch Frisbees for hours.
  • Owners help their dogs jump onto a plush mattress so Christe can capture her shots.
  • She loves how the images show their different personalities.

Julia Christe, a German photographer and animal lover, knows dogs are full of personality, so she set out to capture their funny and unique facial expressions.

Inspired by her own dogs, Christe designed a creative studio setup — equipped with a fans, lights, and a mattress — to take photos that show dogs leaping through the air.

The result? Hilariously candid and yet perfectly timed photos of dogs. Keep reading to learn how Christe created her original photo series of jumping dogs.

German-based photographer Julia Christe is an animal lover who lives on a farm surrounded by donkeys, horses, goats, and two dogs.

German-based photographer Julia Christe is an animal lover who lives on a farm surrounded by donkeys, horses, goats, and two dogs.
This dog has his eyes on the prize. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

Growing up on her family's farm, Christe told Insider it was no surprise that her photography managed to merge with her love for animals.

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Christe grew up watching her mother develop film in a lab, which inspired her to later pursue photography as a career.

Christe grew up watching her mother develop film in a lab, which inspired her to later pursue photography as a career.
Bad hair day. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

To this day, Christe continues to be fascinated by the technical side of photography.

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Starting in 2006, Christe began experimenting with animal photography, using her dog Lucca as her first subject.

Starting in 2006, Christe began experimenting with animal photography, using her dog Lucca as her first subject.
Stay focused. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

Starting with what Christe described as the most basic technical equipment and studio set up, Lucca became the first muse for Christe's project titled "Ups and Downs."

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A year later, Christe decided to bring her new dog, a high-energy Spanish water dog called Flinn, and his Frisbee into her studio to capture him jumping.

A year later, Christe decided to bring her new dog, a high-energy Spanish water dog called Flinn, and his Frisbee into her studio to capture him jumping.
Looking good. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

In the early stages, Christe explained, "If I let him, he would go after anything, jump as high as dogly possible. He doesn't know any boundaries. So he would spend half a day with me in the studio, hunting after Frisbees, with me trying to capture his jumps."

There were lots of technical details to work out: Flinn needed to jump off the exact same spot each time, exactly 20 centimeters from the camera. Christe also had to ensure that each Frisbee throw was positioned correctly and never covered Flinn's face.

Finally, she wanted to capture an endearing expression on Flinn's face, ensuring "the crazy looks weren't looking a tad too weird."

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Christe was eager to expand to other subjects, but understood that certain dog breeds might not carry the same vigor for Frisbee-catching as Flinn.

Christe was eager to expand to other subjects, but understood that certain dog breeds might not carry the same vigor for Frisbee-catching as Flinn.
This dog was definitely caught off guard. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

Luckily, a well-timed commissioned shoot for a veterinary product provided Christe with a sophisticated set and much better technical equipment.

With that, Christe began brainstorming how she could effectively capture different dogs in mid-air without asking them to jump.

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"Rather than having the dogs jump after a ball or a Frisbee, I would have their owners or an assistant hold them at a certain height and then have them jump down," she said.

"Rather than having the dogs jump after a ball or a Frisbee, I would have their owners or an assistant hold them at a certain height and then have them jump down," she said.
Strike a pose. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

The new idea worked well across all breeds and personalities. Plus, the level of surprise on each dog's face as it jumped down added a hilarious touch to the photographs.

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To recruit dogs, Christe left flyers outside veterinary clinics, popular dog bars, spoke to friends, and even approached interesting-looking dogs on the street.

To recruit dogs, Christe left flyers outside veterinary clinics, popular dog bars, spoke to friends, and even approached interesting-looking dogs on the street.
She's ready to go surfing. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

She loves photographing all different breeds and sizes.

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"There are no perfect dogs. The breeds with long hair or long ears look spectacular in the wind, but others, with short hair, can have extraordinary facial expressions," she said.

"There are no perfect dogs. The breeds with long hair or long ears look spectacular in the wind, but others, with short hair, can have extraordinary facial expressions," she said.
Stay calm. Don't look suspicious. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

But, in general, Christe explained that small dogs are much easier to handle and capture on camera.

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When it's time to shoot, Christe positions a large light, fans, and a mattress in front of the camera.

When it's time to shoot, Christe positions a large light, fans, and a mattress in front of the camera.
Don't look down. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

Considering the technical set up and overwhelming new smells, the dogs are usually a bit caught off-guard upon entering the studio.

Christe said this actually works in her favor when it comes to capturing the shot. "It's mostly the first attempt that creates the funniest looks, after that most dogs know the name of the game and don't look towards the camera anymore, but towards the ground."

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With the help of strong fans, the dogs appear to be leaping up through the air, sometimes mimicking a trampoline bounce.

With the help of strong fans, the dogs appear to be leaping up through the air, sometimes mimicking a trampoline bounce.
This furry guy looks very confused. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

The wind helps enhance the illusion of flying and helps to illuminate the dog's features. As the fur is pushed up, the dog appears to be bouncing on a trampoline, instead of jumping down towards the mattress below.

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Each dog has its own individual personality on show.

Each dog has its own individual personality on show.
He's not impressed. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

Part of Christe's goal is to capture each dog's unique self.

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After her first series, Christe's photography circulated across social media and was met with a mix of positive responses and critical questioning.

After her first series, Christe's photography circulated across social media and was met with a mix of positive responses and critical questioning.
A majestic good boy. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

"Some people thought we had used a trampoline or thrown the dogs from a great height or even tortured them somehow and that that was the reason for them to look so surprised," she said. "None of that is true! The dogs are dropped from the minimum height necessary to have time enough to shoot one picture. They are also dropped onto a thick foam mat."

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As an animal lover, Christe has been lucky to photograph more than 90 dogs, and even expanded her idea to cats.

As an animal lover, Christe has been lucky to photograph more than 90 dogs, and even expanded her idea to cats.
Blinded by the fur. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe

The photo series are a display of Christe's two passions in life: photography and animals. For Christe, the opportunity to not only merge her two interests, but also brighten people's days and humanize animals, is significant.

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Ultimately, Christe says the immense amount of work and collaboration with dog owners is worth it, as the results show dogs in an entirely new light.

Ultimately, Christe says the immense amount of work and collaboration with dog owners is worth it, as the results show dogs in an entirely new light.
Someone needs a haircut. Photo courtesy of Julia Christe
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