ASHA SANCTUARY

Donkey photographed at Asha Farms Animal Sanctuary in Newfane NY

I love the work I do with rescue dogs — it’s incredibly rewarding to me and it helps to find new homes for wonderful dogs who have come out of some really bad situations — but all too often we lose sight of the other animals that face abuses in our world. The ones that need help and are commonly denied it because we have institutionalized the disconnection we have from our traditional food sources — the “meat comes from the store” mentality. We have become the largest consumers of meat in the world, and have over-industrialized much of our agricultural production. Because of this, many of us have never seen a cow or chicken up close, let alone considered the impact they have on our day-to-day lives or how our habits of consumption affect their wellbeing and ethical treatment. While not everyone may agree with eating meat, or conversely with living a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle — I think that it’s important to acknowledge that there are people trying to change the lives of these animals for the better.

Asha is a farm and livestock sanctuary in Newfane, NY that has been rescuing and giving a long-term home to livestock and working animals that have faced illness, abuse, and near slaughter. They have been in operation since 2012 when former HSBC Bank executive Tracy Murphy, spurred on by her research into abusive farming practices and animal research, left her job to start the small shelter farm that quickly grew into Asha Sanctuary and its associated vegan and cruelty-free foodways education programs. Tracy has amassed quite a group of animals at Asha, many saved at the last second from auction or slaughter. I’d been looking to work with a more diverse selection of animals and I was focused on finding a group that was involved in rescue or animal rehabilitation. Asha Sanctuary’s name kept popping up over and over again in my research, and serendipitously Tracy reached out to me at almost the same time to inquire about the possibility of creating some new animal images to use in Asha’s fundraising and educational materials — so it was something of a perfect match.

Cornish Game Hen photographed at Asha Farms Animal Sanctuary in Newfane NYCow photographed at Asha Farms Animal Sanctuary in Newfane NY

We worked with Albert, a young calf who was rescued at just a day old —abandoned and separated from his mother and found with his umbilical cord still attached. Albert was in bad shape until he was nursed back to health at Asha by Tracy, where he now has the chance to be the playful and sweet animal he has grown into. Seeing him run around the pasture, eat fruit, and chase the other animals reminded me so much of the way my dogs act. Albert has a great affinity for people and the attention they give him, coming right up alongside you and rubbing his head against your hand until you pet him. It’s amazing to see how much he has imprinted on Tracy and how affectionate he was towards my team – essentially acting like a big puppy the whole day.

Turkey photographed at Asha Farms Animal Sanctuary in Newfane NY

Another one of our favorite subjects was Abraham — A turkey who was rescued from slaughter by another sanctuary before coming to Asha. He has been debeaked and wasn’t in the best health when he was first rescued due to the cramped quarters he had been living in. But much like Albert, living at Asha has given Abraham a whole new outlook on life as he can roam the property and freely interact with the visitors and other animals. He also has a thing about shoelaces, as he managed to untie mine three or four times during the course of the shoot at Asha.

Michael the goat from Asha Sanctuary in Newfane NY

Finally, Michael is a young goat whose main interest in life seem to be head-butting me every chance he got. I really wish we had grabbed some video, because he was like a little ninja, coming out of nowhere to bop me whenever he could. It’s pretty normal for goats, especially young ones like him, but it certainly made for an entertaining day of dodging him and having my assistants watch my back to make sure the little guy wasn’t trying to sneak up on me to show me he was the boss. It was actually pretty cute, like a little kid who thinks he’s a tough guy.

You can visit Asha during any of their open hours to meet and bond with these wonderful animals. You can also help sponsor the care and treatment of individual animals as many of their newer residents have ongoing medical needs due to the their previous treatment and neglect at the hands of others.

Red Chicken photographed at Asha Farms Animal Sanctuary in Newfane NY

A BRAND SPANKING NEW ONLINE PORTFOLIO

I’ve made some significant changes to my online portfolios since the new year and today I’m ready to launch this all new mix of work for 2015. Some of these additions are from projects that I’ve been waiting forever to be able to share, while others are classics that I’m reintroducing to better illustrate the direction my work is taking. Click on any of the samples below to check out the full galleries on my main site.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing a lot more about my new marketing efforts for 2015, including a new print book, new promos, and some fun videos I’m working on right now.

Creative

Portraits of artists, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs – this is where you’ll find some of my edgier and more conceptual portraits in addition to a lot of my editorial work.

Creative Portraits Portfolio

Business

Everything from small business owners to corporate giants.

Luke Copping's Business Portfolio

Everyday

The day-to-day portraits of unique characters, some from assignments, others I’m drawn to photographing for myself.

Everyday Portraits Portfolio

Animals

Rescue dogs, commercial assignments, and private commissions featuring everyone’s favorite furry/feathered/scaly friends.

A look at my animals portrait portfolio

SHELTER PORTRAITS: DARLA

Darla20141128-1025-Edit

Meet Darla, a three-year-old Mastiff in Buffalo, NY that is looking for an awesome family to adopt her this holiday season. Currently she is in a foster program run by the HEART Animal Rescue and Adoption Team. Darla looks so much like one of my own dogs (Akasha – who was a rescue as well, and I’m pretty sure that Darla is a Boerboel just like her) that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to help her out once I heard her story.

Darla has been adopted and returned twice through no fault of her own (changing circumstances did not allow the families to keep her in the long-term). Right now Darla is staying with a really great foster family, but because of her issues with cats and other animals she has to stay in the heated garage most of the time. The volunteers at HEART and her foster family have been working their butts off to find a great new owner and a warm fireplace for this tiny (for a mastiff) lady to curl up by for the holidays. Thankfully, once the new portraits I created of her hit Facebook and Twitter, her story was shared hundreds of times in just a few days. She still hasn’t been placed with a new home yet, but I’m hoping that if you are in the Buffalo, NY area and are looking for an amazing pet, or know a deserving family who is you will help spread the word about Darla’s situation and make her holidays marvelous.

She’s very sweet and affectionate, but she doesn’t always get along with cats (who can blame her – I don’t get along with them either) or other dogs very well. However, she is amazing with less furry, more human children, and would make an amazing addition to a family looking for that perfect first pet. People are really dedicated to helping Darla and because of that a friend of the foster family has agreed to pay the $150.00 adoption fee, in addition to that kick-ass donation I’m offering up to $100.00 for the new family to sign up for training classes in the Buffalo area with Darla after she is adopted as a great way to bond with her and get to know each other better. She’s up to date on shots, is heart worm negative, spayed, housebroken, crate trained, already microchipped, and devastatingly cute.

You can find more info on her at her Petfinder page.