Glenn Ferguson, Co-founder of Cancer Dogs for Quebec Science

In the fall I had the opportunity to photograph a unique assignment. Quebec Science was doing a story on Glenn Ferguson and his company CancerDogs.

From the website: "CancerDogs is a cancer screening service that uses specially trained dogs to detect the odor of all types of cancer present in a person’s exhaled breath. We developed an inexpensive and non-invasive breath sample kit that collects breath odor with a simple surgical mask that is worn for 10 minutes. Back at our facility, the breath samples are processed, placed into trays and loaded into our custom designed sniffing station where 4 dogs will systematically search, sniffing each sample multiple times."

They currently only work with fire departments, and have received samples from 27,000 firefighters since 2011 from over 40 cities in the United States including Chicago, Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio and look forward to working with others.

They've also been featured in a documentary called Walking Points which has recently been released.

We spent a few hours with Glenn and his six adorable dogs (which are beagles crossed with bassets): Buster, Indie, Romeo, Jenkins, Ozzy and Jasper. Each one had a distinct personality, and my assistant and I totally fell in love with them. We went for a walk where they were all so well trained that they could be off-leash and knew exactly how far to wander before stopping.

Back inside, we watched as they sniffed out the masks of different people diagnosed with cancer from a row of hidden containers. It was very interesting to watch, and I'd love there to be more scientific research conducted on this kind of thing. It's always blown me away when trained dogs can find guns, bombs, money, drugs, and pretty much anything else.

We finished by photographing a portrait of Glenn in front of his wall of sample containers. I used a Profoto Softlight Reflector beauty dish with grid, with a Deep White Umbrella Medium with diffusion behind it. Triggered and controlled with Air Sync Remote and USB, tethered to CaptureOne Pro via Tether Tools. Final portrait shot on a Nikon D800 with a Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art.

 BTS Photos: Kamara Morozuk


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