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Torontonians jump next to their dogs for New Year's photo series

A Toronto photographer is taking a fluffy twist on a popular Japanese photography series.

Redemption Dogs project is a riff on Japanese pictures of fathers and daughters

'I just tell the people to jump and get as much air as possible, be as animated as possible,' photographer Nicole Simone says of her new photo series. (Nicole Simone/Redemption Dogs)

A Toronto photographer is taking a fluffy twist on a popular Japanese photography series.

Nicole Simone is taking pictures of people jumping for joy next to their dogs, as the pooches stand idly by.

"I love the expression and the silliness of it. The dogs' faces are hilarious and the dogs look totally unimpressed," Simone told CBC's Metro Morning.

The New Year's photo project is inspired by the work of Japanese photographer Yuki Aoyama, who made a media splash earlier this year with his series of pictures of suit-wearing fathers leaping excitedly into the air next to their straight-faced little girls.

"I thought it was cute and it could translate into people jumping and celebrating next to their dogs in the new year," Simone said. "The hardest part is just trying to get them to stand still. They don't really understand what we're doing, but then they get bored and sit there."

Tara and Pizza are the first participants in the Redemption Dogs New Year's series. 'He was going to be put down as a puppy,' says Simone says of Pizza, who was once quite aggressive, but has grown into 'an awesome dog.' (Nicole Simone/Redemption Dogs )

Simone has been photographing people with their rescue dogs since 2014 for her online photography project Redemption Dogs. She said the pictures are "a way to let owners celebrate their dogs and show the many types of people that adopt."

"You see a lot of pre-adoption photos and not really what happens to the dog afterwards," she said.

Each picture is accompanied by information about the dog and some quotes from the rescuer about their pet and why they chose to adopt.

"This whole series is really rewarding because I get to meet a bunch of amazing, eccentric dogs, and these people are some of the friendliest, outgoing, empathetic people who are so excited to talk about their dogs," Simone said.

Scott is pictured here with his rescue dog Kodiak, who was put in a shelter after his first family lost their home during the financial recession in 2008. 'He ended up in a high-kill Ohio shelter. There's a picture of him from his first day in the shelter and I can't look at it without crying because he looks so terrified and heartbroken,' Scott says. (Nicole Simone/Redemption Dogs)

She was inspired to promote animal adoption after she began volunteering for shelter in Aurora, Ont., in 2006, she said. 

"I saw a really good opportunity. If I took some good photos, the dogs would get adopted," she said. "The pound eventually closed, but I got to see everything, the real raw side of dog rescue — puppy mill dogs, abused dogs, the gamut."

While she strongly believes in animal adoption — she has her own rescue dog named Charlie — the New Year's series features both rescue and non-rescue dogs, alike.

"It should be welcoming to all," Simone said.

Petunia, who was rescued from Attawapiskat in Nothern Ontario through the Moosonee Puppy Rescue, is pictured here with owner Jeremy. (Nicole Simone/Redemption Dogs)