philosophy

Philosophy

Our world is one in which art and animals come together in a wonderful way. It is the animals who captivate. From the tame, sensitive and willing to please to the wild and majestic, they are the ones who paint the pictures and weave the tales in our lives.

We live by the joy of truly loving what we do. To us, an image can evoke emotion the way a scent brings back a memory. When we photograph animals, we capture not only their physical beauty, but their individual and very unique personalities.

In our design work, we collaborate with great people who share our vision, that companion animals are more than just pets, they are a lifestyle and often, an integral part of the human condition. We bring their visions to life and help spread their message.

We’re consumers of this industry. So we get it. We know what it takes to disrupt the status quo and break through the clutter – to be seen, heard and touched. Our philosophy is simply to live on both sides of the experience in a way that naturally connects with animals, nature and lightness.

Through photography, boutique illustration and design, our work is for the good of others, weaving visual stories of the once-wild creatures we now call partners, companions, friends, soulmates… family.

Beginnings

As creatives in the art world, lovers of all beings in the animal kingdom and mindful students of the canine and feline sphere, we knew our true happiness and execution of skill would come alive with animal photography, illustration and design. Combining our extensive education and professional experience, The Photo Lab and The Design Lab (now The Labs & Co.) was serendipitous if not fate. Through The Photo Lab, we create images that pay tribute to the ideal dog/cat person lifestyle, in breathtaking natural light, perfectly imperfect and analog, just like life and work with a range of folks, from commercial clients who understand this bond and cater to these companion animals and the families who love them, to the families themselves.

The Design Lab is a blend of our love of animals combined with small-shop illustration and graphic design; dedicating all our attention and skill to the industry that caters to the animal kingdom – and the people dedicated to that industry and those animals.

We may be a small team of two, but we are humbly mighty, offering a whole service in a one-stop shop for both small businesses as well as large companies.


The Furry Brainchild

The Photo Lab was born out of the kindness of a caring friend, a passion for photography and the love of a certain black Labrador.

As our black lab Corbin grew up, we always indulged in making pictures of him and his feline siblings, but it wasn’t until he was struck with Cancer that we realized what those images really meant to us. Life goes by so fast, and photography has a wonderful quality of stilling a moment in time. Photographing him and our lives with him became our life’s work and passion. Our love for this dog is in everything, from our branding to the dedication we put into our work, honoring the bond between people and their companion animals through The Photo Lab and The Design Lab, all because of the original Lab.

the_furry_brainchild

© Jesse Freidin


© Heaven McArthur

© Heaven McArthur

Bill & Nat

Of all the things we could divulge about us, three are the most important you should know:

  • We believe in kindness above all else.
  • Fun is a key ingredient to creating great work.
  • To us, the words “it’s just a dog/cat” do not apply.

We are teammates, business partners and best friends (oh yeah, and we happen to be a family too). Educated and experienced in multiple disciplines ranging from photography, art direction to graphic design as well as illustration and writing. We approach each project with a unique and multifaceted perspective. Living and working in our little farm town of Petaluma (California) has inspired in us a perpetual love and nostalgia for the past, while always keeping one foot in the future; this seeps into our work as we shoot with old film cameras as well as top of the line digital equipment. All our illustration and design work starts by hand and opens up into endless possibilities in a digital sphere.

We work hard and play hard and share our lives with a pack of dogs and cats (& Co.).

Street Cred

© Heaven McArthur

© Heaven McArthur

Bill Parsons

  • Photography education at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
  • BFA for Commercial/Advertising Photography at Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Former Producer at DDB San Francisco.
  • Former instructor at Academy of Art University, San Francisco.
  • Co-Art Director, Producer and Project Manager for all Labs & Co. expeditions.
  • Supporting sales, marketing and product development for P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You.
  • Cat whisperer, banjo player and ancestry.com geek.
  • Beer maker and part-time Star Wars Stormtrooper who has been known to laugh an old man laugh from deep within his lungs when something is really, really funny.

Natalia “Nat” Martinez

  • Fine Arts and Digital Imaging BFA at Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Graphic Design BFA at Art Institute of California, San Francisco.
  • Freelance designer and illustrator, and proud independent creative since 2007.
  • Graduate of Trish King’s Canine Behavior Academy, equal-parts dog and cat nerd.
  • Fully bilingual (English/Spanish).
  • Pint-sized phenom with a big laugh and sense of curiosity. Friend of beasts, adorer of wolves.
  • Bookworm, avid hiking enthusiast, lover of ice cream, whiskey and tequila.
  • She prefers to be called “Nat” and will think you are mad at her if you call her by her full name (sorry, Mom).

© Heaven McArthur

© Heaven McArthur

& Co.

© Heaven McArthur

© Heaven McArthur

Corbin

  • Guaranteed to be everyone’s best friend.
  • Just like the Dyson “Animal” vacuum, he’ll never lose suction when food is around.
  • He’s been named Corbin the Saint, for his unmeasurable kind soul and good nature.
  • His saintliness allows him to get away with some “selective hearing.”
  • Hero and brother bear to Willow the Wild.
  • We think he speaks in Jeff Bridge’s voice, with a George Clooney effect on the ladies.
  • #CorbinTheSaint on Instagram

© Heaven McArthur

© Heaven McArthur

Willow

  • A wolf and a cat trapped in a dog’s lanky body.
  • Our ambassador of the “Foster-Fail” badge and fearful dog who taught us to be brave.
  • Hike buddy to Nat and inspiration behind the 365 Dog Hikes passion project.
  • Shelter dog therapist and kindergarten puppy teacher.
  • Canine Circus School graduate, graceful comedian, a ballerina and a clown
  • Eyes like a yellow crescent moon, follower and protector of her brother Corbin the Saint.
  • #WillowTheWild on Instagram

© Amy Soper of House of Wee

© Amy Soper of House of Wee

Leeloo

  • Queen beast of our homefront.
  • The smallest in stature, the oldest in age and the largest in personality.
  • She invented the term “Tortietude.”
  • Purse and bag inspector.
  • Master at cuddling.
  • Enforcer of the word: NOW
  • #IttyBittyZenKitty on Instagram

© Amy Soper of House of Wee

© Amy Soper of House of Wee

Artemis aka RT

  • A dog that went to sleep and woke up as a cat.
  • Introverted until there is food to be had.
  • A true house-panther.
  • Working on his Circus Cat degree.
  • Talented masseur and unlicensed acupuncturist
  • Dog groomer
  • #RTkitty on Instagram