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Mansfield Magazine

Glenda Beckwith Dishes on Why She Does the Animal Portraits for Mansfield Animal Care & Control

Feb 22, 2017 04:27PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Image courtesy of Alexander Portrait Designers' Facebook page.

We recently wrote an article about Mansfield Animal Care & Control, "Breaking Misconceptions, Helping the Community at Mansfield Animal Care & Control." We covered the great things they are doing for all of our sweet animals in the area, but couldn't help but notice that all of their adoption photos were done by a professional photography studio, Alexander Portrait Designers.

Intrigued by this, we reached out to the studio to learn a little bit more about their story and their collaboration with Mansfield Animal Care & Control. Though their scope of expertise has a wide range, their portraits are their specialty. From senior portraits to industrial photos, they really do it all.

Luckily, Glenda Beckwith, the owner of the studio, was able to answer a few questions for us about her business and her passion. 

Tell us a little bit about Alexander Portraits. When and how did it get started?

Having worked in the photography industry since 1980, in 1998 I decided to open my own studio in downtown Mansfield. I had been photographing part time while working in the industry since I was a teenager.  

Tell us a little bit about you. Have you always had an interest in photography?

I grew up in Idaho and Utah and love the outdoors. I would take pictures, but the mountains and wildlife never came out like what I was seeing, so I decided to get my degree in photography. That is where I learned to understand the camera, lighting and composition.  

To this day I get just as excited to see my images as much as I did 40 years ago. I am very fortunate to have a job that I love and I still get excited about going to work everyday. 

My photography ranges from: helicopters, high school seniors, babies, families, dogs, horses and everything in between. I still love it. I take continuing education classes in order to keep up with the changes, because you either keep up or get left behind.

I noticed that Alexander Portraits takes photos of the adoptable animals at Mansfield Animal Care & Control. How did that collaboration come about?

I just have a love for the community of Mansfield. I have been a Rotarian for 17 years and we are always doing great things for the community. One of my greatest loves is animals. I am always looking out for animals in need and I saw a need to help get the animals in our shelter adopted. We, as a society don't always treat animals as I think we should, and I have found that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I have unique skill and the passion to help, so a friend and I, Meredith Minter, got together and decided to make a commitment to this community to bring awareness about the animals in the shelter. I photograph the animals, with help from my staff, and Meredith created a 
Facebook page called SMASH to help promote the shelter dogs, cats and sometimes rabbits. We are now up to 3500 followers but would love to reach 20,000!  

Meredith posts the animals on SMASH and then our wonderful followers will share the pics and stories and push to find great homes for the animals. Not all of the animals in the shelter are strays, some are owner-surrendered and we want to find them the best homes possible. 

We started this 6 years ago and I know that we have made a difference. I couldn't have done this without the help of Meredith and her expertise with social media. With all of the growth that Mansfield is experiencing, a lot of newer residents don't know that we have a shelter.  Our shelter is in the industrial part of town and I would guess that 75% of the population doesn't know that it exists. 

I personally own four dogs that live indoors with us. Two of them came from the shelter and the other two where just strays that needed a loving home.

What's been the most rewarding/memorable experience so far? 

My most memorable experience at the shelter was about three years ago. The shelter picked up this poor dog that was a stray that had been shot in the leg had one leg broken, fleas, skin problems and a host of other problems. Faith was the name the shelter gave her. She always seemed to be smiling no matter what.

Meredith was able to create a Go Fund Me account to help with her medical problems. The Shelter also has a "Lucky Fund" that also helps animals in medical need so they were able to help Faith. It took months and months to get her back to normal, or best as possible  She will always have a problem walking, but she is much better.

The one thing I would ask is that, if you would like to help the shelter, donate to the "Lucky Fund." It will help animals that otherwise would not get the help. 

Do you have a favorite moment at your studio?

One of my most memorable times at my studio involved a little girl named Faith. She was born with water on the brain and not ever expected to live. Faith beat the odds and lived and when she was released from the hospital her parents booked a session with me not knowing how long she would live. Let me tell you, this child has defied the odds. She is now a young teenager and full of life. I have been photographing Faith every year and I get to watch her grow up. She always has a smile on her face and is a joy to photograph.  

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am always looking forward and I have changed my business a little. I have opened a new division of Alexander Portrait Designers called Simply Stunning Boudoir. I enjoy working with women and love the experience of watching women realize how beautiful they are. We don't have to be a certain size or age to look beautiful and feel empowered. 

One of my goals for the community of Mansfield is having a no kill shelter, TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release) and dog parks. I will continue to photograph the animals at the shelter or anywhere else so that I can help find them homes.  

This year, one of my goals for my business is to start teaching landscape and wildlife photography. I would love to be able to live in Yellowstone Park all summer long and teach people how to photograph the landscape and wildlife.

How can someone get involved? Do you have any tips? 

I would encourage everyone to get involved with our community. Whether it's helping with Feed the Childrenpicking up trash, joining food drives, or Meals On Wheels, we should always get involved. The rewards that you receive are worth their weight in gold.

If you can't find the time, please donate. The Lucky Fund at the shelter is always in need of help. Without the help of the community they will not get all of the medical attention that they need.

To learn more about Glenda and the great work she is doing within the community, visit her website or her Facebook page

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