The Companion

This is part of my Forever Grateful project.
As I was selling my home and placing my business on hi
atus for a period of time, I took portraits of about 30 people who influenced my career over the past 12 years. This was my way of saying “Thanks” and letting everyone know that I couldn’t have done it without their support.

Not to diminish the support I’ve received from all of my human friends, but several people who have been following this project have said “You’re going to include Bodhi in this, right?” and it was clear to me that I couldn’t leave him out… and here’s why:


A couple years into my business, I realized I was living and working from home and it was the perfect time to adopt a dog from the Pasadena Humane Society. I was excited to bring a dog home with me, but I didn’t realize how it was going to shift the energy during my shoot and my workflow.

First off, when people would walk into my studio, their faces would light up when they saw you…

Bodhi - Adoption Day arriving at Photo Studio 2006
Bodhi – Adoption Day arriving at Photo Studio 2006

… unless they were allergic or had a phobia of large dogs, in which case, screw them.

Often, clients would request to have a photo taken with you, and even though you didn’t always love it, you would still put up with it from time to time. It’s hard to be as handsome as you, isn’t it?

You really have been the best assistant.. and not just because you only ask for some kibble and belly rubs in exchange.

When my clients were getting into make-up and I needed to test my lights on, you often became my stand-in.

Test Shots for Headshots
Test Shot for Musician Portrait – Background by Guy Klender – The Master Builder

When kids came in for photos, you were kind, gentle and loving.

Max (Far Left), Kaya (2nd on Left), Eric (Two on the Right)
Max (Far Left), Kaya (2nd on Left), Eric (Two on the Right)

When it came time to review and process the photos, I’d find comfort with your big meathead presence laying beside my chair. And before you came along, I would work non-stop. But you wouldn’t let me do that anymore. After a hour or so of staring at the screen you would let out a loud sigh… the sound of utter boredom and the longing for attention. And if that didn’t get me to take a break, you would walk over and look at me like this.


How could I resist? This face forced me to take breaks, which experts say is good for you both physically and mentally.

You’ve been my right hand man and a steadfast companion and I love you more than anything.

Forever Grateful,


The Story Behind the Shoot:

Bodhi has been by my side for 9+ years. He absolutely hates riding in the RV, but once we get to a new location, he has been enjoying all the new sights, smells, and places to pee.

From pontoon rides…


To walking on the cliffs on the Mendocino coastline…

Blake & Bodhi - Photo by Floyd Gardner Photography
Blake & Bodhi – Photo by Floyd Gardner Photography

To beaches where he can run for about 5 minutes and then pass out…

Bodhi - photo by Blake Gardner Photography

photo by Blake Gardner Photography

To cruising down the Avenue of the Giants…

Bodhi - photo by Blake Gardner Photography
Bodhi – photo by Blake Gardner Photography

This last shot is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. For years, I’ve taken him on errands around town with me. He’d sit in the backseat with his head out the window with his tongue hanging out, just loving life (I think it was a little too early in the morning for him in this shot though). There have been countless times where I look over at the people in the car next to me and they are smiling and waving at Bodhi with such happiness. He really has brought joy to a lot of people’s life, especially my own.

For this shot, I took him on a drive down The Ave of the Giants with the great big redwoods all around us. I put my camera and flash on a tripod and laid it vertically on my car’s dashboard as my father held it down to keep it from moving. We drove down the road at 15mph to capture the motion blur in this shot.

Check out more of my Forever Grateful project HERE

5 thoughts on “The Companion

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