Dallas photographer Sylvia Elzafon is, as they say, having a moment. The CultureMap contributor was formerly best known for her heartwarming and joyful portraits of shelter dogs and cats, an ongoing labor of love for this active animal activist.
But soon she will be better known as the cover girl for best-selling author Rory Freedman’s new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals.
“To see my photo on the cover of a book that is so right in line with the things that are most important to me is such an amazing honor,” says Sylvia Elzafon.
Well, Elzafon herself is not on the cover. Beg’s cover girl is Roxy, one of the bright-eyed dogs Elzafon photographed at Dallas Animal Services.
“Rory has long been an inspiration of mine, because she’s a staunch advocate for all things animal,” Elzafon says. “Her first book, Skinny Bitch, is one of the favorites on my shelf.
“In Beg, she makes a solid case for extending our compassion for companion animals to all animals,” Elzafon says. “This is something I try to help folks in rescue understand. It’s really cool seeing the ‘light bulb moments’ happen with folks who are huge animal advocates for companion animals but hadn’t before considered the issues of farmed animals, animals in entertainment and science, etc.”
Freedman and Elzafon have crossed paths before. Elzafon does work for Los Angeles-based Mercy for Animals, so she counts members of the LA animal activist community among her “extended family.” Freedman, who lives in LA, runs in similar circles, and she was familiar with Elzafon’s work through Facebook.
When Freedman’s publisher sent her ideas for the book cover, none matched her vision. “It has to be Sylvia’s,” she told them. That’s when the publisher reached out to Elzafon for samples of her work, and they selected the portrait of Roxy.
“The importance of Sylvia’s work can’t be overstated,” Freedman told us via email. “She gives each of the shelter dogs she photographs a fighting chance at finding a home. She’s a perfect example of how one person can make a difference. I’m thrilled to showcase her talent, passion and heroism.”
Elzafon went to LA last week for the Beg book launch party, where she got to spend time with Freedman. “She was so sweet and grateful and gave me a big hug. She had tears in her eyes,” Elzafon says.
“To see my photo on the cover of a book that is so right in line with the things that are most important to me is such an amazing honor and one of the highlights of my photo career.”
As for Roxy? Elzafon — who tries to keep track of the animals she photographs — says she was adopted. “Fingers crossed that she’s living a good life.”