Joshua Oldridge recently changed almost everything about his life on a journey of emotional healing and transformation.
Oldridge moved to Phoenix from Illinois last year to join his now fiancé who leads the Southwest division of a pet adoption organization. Oldridge also took this time to leave a career in cosmetology to start a business as a pet photographer.
Oldridge enjoyed his old job, but as early as his college years he was always focused on the arts. He couldn't see photography as a viable career option, but in the wake of a huge loss, he decided it was time to pursue his passion.
Oldridge suffered the loss of his husband following a battle with cancer.
“I stopped working in cosmetology to take care of [my husband],” said Oldridge.
After this loss, he found himself in a kind of an in-between stage of life, but that started to change around the time he reconnected with his old friend who would later become his fiancé.
Oldridge started a pet photography business because of his love of dogs, but how he developed this love is extremely unconventional.
“When I was younger, I was attacked by a dog,” said Oldridge, “after that, I started studying dog behavior.”
What normally causes a life-long aversion to dogs lead Oldridge to develop respect and admiration for their unique psychology.
Here in Phoenix, Oldridge has found a new place to plant roots and developed a passion for his work.
Oldridge explained that most pet owners consider their animals part of the family, and therefore it’s natural to want some nice photos of their loved one. Whether their pet is getting older and they want a way to remember them, or they just want to document their dog’s fourth birthday party, Oldridge is more than happy to oblige.
Oldridge said of the photo sessions with pets, “you have to have patience for sure.”
When he’s not photographing dogs for work, Oldridge volunteers his time to shelters around town, photographing dogs who have stayed at the shelter for a long time without getting adopted.
“I work with four different rescue groups,” said Oldridge, “it’s amazing to see what a photo can do for a dog."
Oldridge and his fiancé share their lives with a big family of rescue dogs. They have a Shih
Tzu, a chihuahua mix, a boxer mix, and according to Oldridge, “we just acquired a tortoise a few days ago.”
Oldridge feels fulfilled by the life he has built for himself in Phoenix and expressed that this city can lend itself easily to personal evolution.
Oldridge credits much of his transformation to his move to the Valley, reimagining his career, and the love and support of his fiancé. Oldridge demonstrates that sometimes, loss or a big change can lead to a new lease on life.