Since Petography, Inc. was established in 1993 by Jim Dratfield, Pet Photographer, it has attracted an elite clientele, including Jennifer Aniston, Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters, and not-so-famous animal lovers, all of whom share a common passion for their pets. Although Jim splits his time between New York City and Los Angeles, this “Traveling Petographer” is commissioned for photo sessions across America, whether it be Tulsa, Santa Fe, Boston, Omaha or Beverly Hills and in Europe as well. Petography has garnered national media attention, including profiles on ABC’s “20/20” and “The View,” CNN, “Access Hollywood,” USA Today, Town and Country, Departures, Instyle, and The New York Times.
In the Autumn of 1995, Petography made headlines when its first book, The Quotable Canine, was released by Doubleday. A compendium of sepia-toned portraits and classic quotes, the book included in the holiday best bets lists of a number of publications, including Good Housekeeping, People, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and others. The companion book The Quotable Feline was released by Knopf for the ‘96-’97 holiday season and received an equal amount of accolades.
An exhibit of Petography’s work was featured at Manhattan’s prestigious William Secord Gallery, the first photo exhibit in this Madison Avenue gallery’s history and only its second exhibit featuring living artists. Petography’s photos now grace the pages of books, magazines, gallery walls, greeting cards, tee shirts, calendars-and the homes of their prestigious clients. Jim’s Pug Shots published by Viking Studio in 1999 was featured in People and on many holiday gift book lists throughout the country. It has been listed as high as #66 on Amazon.Com.
In 2002, Jim had three books released; Underdogs: Beauty is More Than Fur Deep (which eventually was printed in four languages), Dogography and Catography. In 2003 Jim’s photo celebration of horses was released with The Quotable Equine, lensed from Mongolia to Montana. Jim’s book Day of the Dachshund in 2004 paid homage to doxies! A Dog for All Seasons released in late 2006 celebrates our canines in each of the four seasons; whether bounding through a winter storm or splashing during a summer’s swim. His book Pugnation: The Bark is Back! a sequel to the wildly successful Pug Shots was released in 2009. Dogphoria was out in 2011 and The Love of a Lab was published in 2016.
The business of Petography involves more than a dedicated artist, fast film, plenty of patience and a lot of cross-country travel to clients’ homes. Its success lies in the genuine love of Jim of those four - or more - legged friends (not to mention reptiles!).
“The response to the finished pictures is one of the most rewarding aspects of this job,” says Jim Dratfield. “People are delighted, overwhelmed enough sometimes to shed a tear or two. I believe that many things touch us throughout our lives, but it’s often our pets who are there for us in good times and bad. Petography gives people a way to remember those times -and those pets- forever.”
A native of Princeton, NJ, Jim Dratfield grew up in a theatrical family, acting from the age of six and leaving college to pursue stardom in New York and Hollywood. After a successful run in the Broadway revival of “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” in which Jim prophetically played the role of the son who oddly enough runs off to become a photographer, he moved to Los Angeles, where he landed the recurring role of Bud Keiser, obnoxious paramedic extraordinaire in the critically-acclaimed television series, “St. Elsewhere.” He also formed his own theatrical production company, O Drat! Productions, which received Honorable Mention by the Los Angeles Time Critics as Best Revival of 1986 (for Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July).
Jim moved back to the East Coast, never imagining his life was about to take a new direction that combined his passion for photography with his great love of animals. It was while dreaming up concepts for a promotional mailing he was sending to casting directors, one of which was a series of photos of him with his best friend- Kuma, an Akita- that an idea began to form in Jim’s head. He realized other people had the same deep affection for their pets, and would cherish portraits that captured a certain, time, place, mood--forever.
In February 1993, Jim co-founded Petography, Inc., an animal portrait studio specializing in fine art photographs of pets of all sizes, shapes, and species often with their people. The concept and the company were an instant success. Soon Jim was flying around the country to capture rabbits and hedgehogs, monkeys and cockatiels, on film. He now lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, close to New York City, horse country and a whole lot more.