Taylor and Jazmine’s portrait session at Yorktown Beach.

There are some requests that I simply cannot pass up.

I’m known for doing portraits of people. It’s been my thing for a long time now. I get requests for other types like children’s birthday parties, weddings, et cetera. When those arise I recommend other photographers that I know specialize in them and will do an amazing job.

But every once in a while I get a request for something else that I simply can’t pass up. Something that hits close to my heart and fills my soul with joy in doing. An honor in fulfilling. Taylor approached me with such a request.

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In her words:

“In July my 13 year old Shih Tzu, Jazmine, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her spinal cord. She was given only 3-6 months to live and I was devastated. Jazmine is my everything and I can’t imagine a life without her! She has been there for me through all of my hard times and I knew right away that I was going to make whatever time she had left amazing. I knew Mark would be able to show her quirky personality and beauty for me to keep forever even after my baby is gone.”

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Anyone who knows me knows I have a huge soft spot when it comes to animals of all shapes and sizes. To have a request of this magnitude hits me right in the feels. There wasn’t a bit of hesitation.

Time was of the essence. The location for the session was never in doubt.

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“She loves the beach so we went nearly weekly while the weather was warm so she could go play in the sand and water. It was a no brainer to me that I should get her pictures taken somewhere she loved”

The images speak to the spirit of a pet and her owner. I am honored and humbled to do such things.

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“I’m so happy to say that 5 months after her diagnosis she is still doing well! But I am so thankful that I now have pictures of her and I in her favorite place where she is happy and beautiful for me to always cherish.”


Mark Knopp is a Hampton, Virginia-based photographer covering the Hampton Roads and Richmond communities.

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