A couple of weeks ago, Spot posted this “Hi Guys!” meme on Facebook. It garnered a fair amount of attention from our friends who seemed to love its over the top goofiness. As it turned out – unlike any of the other memes we’ve posted, not only did several of our friends know these dogs, but were also friends with the photographer. How often does that happen? Not very often. So, we tracked him down to find out just what was going on when that picture was taken.
“Well, it wasn’t that exciting, really.” That’s Jeffrey Jaquish, a semi-professional photographer who lives in Everson, Washington. “You know, they were going crazy, just running around the backyard and I was snapping pictures. Parker (the “under” dog) went up underneath Brody and kind of flipped up his rear end and then they just went off running. It was 1/1000th of a second and I just got lucky.”
Parker and Brody, Australian Cattle Dogs, are littermates. Parker still lives at home with Jaquish and his wife, Linda – while Brody lives with another family and had come over for a visit. Jaquish, who often has a camera nearby, wanted to have some shots of the two brothers together, who were about two years-old at the time.
So, okay – maybe the story of the actual photo isn’t that interesting, but, how did it become an Internet phenomenon? It wasn’t any of Jaquish’s doing.
A retired paramedic and firefighter captain, Jaquish’s first love has always been photography, He began maintaining a Flickr site to post photos and created a small business by selling permissions to ad agencies, corporations, small companies and the like.
He posted that particular photo back in 2007. “It had no interest other than casually,” he said. One woman did request permission to use it in an inspirational DVD she was creating, and a few people commented on its silliness, but other than that it received little attention, until about nine months ago when a friend contacted him to let him know that the picture had shown up on someone’s website with the caption, “Look at my hat.”
He looked at the site, saw his photo and had a familiar, sinking feeling. “Every time I see one of my unauthorized images, I get that pit in my stomach. When it’s your own dog, it’s like having one of your kids’ pictures pop up.” He noticed that the picture had already been viewed close to 4000 times and from there, “It went viral.” He was soon seeing his photo all over the Internet, on people’s Facebook pages, websites and blogs. The origin of the "Hi Guys" caption is unknown.
Jaquish often goes after people who are using his photos without permission, but realized that in this case, the effort would be futile. “It wouldn’t have helped to try to rein it in at that point.” Jaquish also concedes that any revenue he would’ve made from that picture is lost forever. “It’s not that big of a deal, I never got any revenue from it to begin with, but there is always the potential because it’s unique. And, I don’t think anyone is using this for financial gain – someone saw something funny and it made them smile. I can appreciate that.”
Some photographers protect their photos by using a watermark on the image before posting it to the Internet, but he’s not a fan, feeling that they can obliterate the integrity of an image. And he doesn’t find in the age of Photoshop and easy cropping tools, that watermarks are a guarantee against thievery. He prefers putting his images on a DVD and registering them with the US Copyright Office, so that if people do end up using a photo for financial gain, there is recourse available. Of course, Jaquish would rather just be taking pictures or petting his dogs than chasing down copyright violations.
Long a fan of Australian Cattle Dogs, he and Linda have had several over the years and are deeply involved in the herding and agility communities with their dogs Dot, Parker, Kindle and Flash. Sadly, a fifth member of the pack passed away in July, Jaquish’s beloved Spud. “He was a once in a lifetime dog.” Spud was a rescue, and Jaquish’s love for him spurned him to become active in the rescue community, fostering and evaluating potential adopters. The work began taking an emotional toll and he decided to use his photography skills instead by donating photography and pictures to rescue groups.
Getting back to the now famous picture, Jaquish doesn’t have any hard feelings and is glad the image has warmed so many hearts. “I think it’s pretty cool. There’s a deep satisfaction that so many people have seen it and smiled. I find that extremely satisfying, more so than any money I may receive selling or licensing it. I’m an image guy and I think most people appreciate a good image, so … I’m always trying.”