Alex Hopes runs the Instagram feed, ZilkerBark, where he posts photos of dogs from all over Austin. The name is a reference to Zilker Park, a popular destination for local dog owners. Hopes currently has 182,000 followers.
He says the project started when he moved to Austin and began photographing his dog Sid.
“I visited Zilker Park and I immediately fell in love,” he says. “I bought a camera I couldn’t afford, and immediately decided I was going to start being a photographer with social media as a complement.”
When Sid was hit by a car, Hopes says he raised almost $10,000 in two days for his vet bills, which saved his life. It all came from the small following Sid had on Instagram at the time.
“It was about the most challenging thing that I had to deal with in that point of my life, and still to this day,” Hopes says.
Hopes thought of starting ZilkerBark while he and Sid were traveling the country for six months after Sid’s accident.
“ZilkerBark was a project I wanted to start because I knew how much those photos meant to me, and I knew how much they would mean to others,” Hopes says.
Hopes says his favorite thing about photographing dogs is how cute their most awkward faces are.
“It’s the one where you catch the dog when the lip is caught on the upper tooth, or the tongue sticking out of the mouth,” Hope says. “I just love the openness to anything a dog does being cute.”
Written by Savana Dunning.