Where in the World is Momo?
Those who have grown up with or have ever owned a dog know the look. It’s a slight cock of the head paired with a persistent stare and searching eyes—the pure look of man’s best friend. Andrew Knapp’s 6 year-old Border Collie named Momo is perhaps a master at this, and his persistent stare is a hallmark of Knapp’s runaway-success of a blog Find Momo.
Equally popular on Instagram (to the tune of 236k followers at the time of writing), Knapp’s blog features his trusted canine friend pulling a “Where’s Waldo?” around their hometown of Greater Sudbury, Ontario. In every shot, Momo is hiding somewhere in the frame—it just might not be easy to find him right away. Through some squinting or zooming, he’s eventually found…whether he’s hiding behind a pile of logs or in a cloudy window.
A designer by trade, Knapp had the travel bug early on in life, which only grew once Momo came into the picture: “I was born and raised in Northern Ontario. I got the spark to travel when I was around 20 and started moving around a lot. I’ve always worked in the arts / design, but always kept photography on the side as a hobby – it lent itself very well to my line of work. About 6 years ago I got a dog, and he changed things a lot.”
“Instagram had arrived and I needed a subject to shoot, and Momo was always by my side from day one. Funny enough, the iPhone came out around the same time I got him, so having a quality camera in my pocket at all times was always a thing with Momo. These things in life sometimes line up pretty nicely, you just have to watch for them.”
Knapp’s initial photos of Momo were actually a private pursuit alongside Instagram—something meant only for family and friends. Based off the initial idea of having a hiding dog in his photos, he had a handful of books printed. According to Knapp, they were originally meant just as gifts: “The idea was to have a game to give to my nieces and nephews as gifts, and their parents ended up loving it at least as much as they did.”
After scrolling through the pages and pages of photos, one has to wonder—how the hell does he get his dog to sit still for so long? Most dog owners struggle to get their dogs to heel on command, while Knapp found Momo’s Border Collie breed to be a hidden benefit to his creative pursuit.
“He’s absolutely so patient. I’ve always spent a ton of time with him and made mental notes all along the way. I’d like to think I know him and understand him very, very well, as he does me, which is a strength of the [Border Collie] breed. He stays so still, but in addition, he stares at me, which is sometimes really hilarious.”
“For instance, if I park out front of a restaurant and eat on the patio, he’ll stare at me with his head sticking out the window for almost the entire meal. This originates from his breed, where he would be herding sheep, and looking back at his owner for hand gestures or listening for whistles. I think he’d be a fine sheep herder.”
As for the process of selecting locations for his photos, Knapp says that the process is fairly organic. Momo is almost always at his side, and if he spots a suitable location, the dog is more than happy to jump out at a moment’s notice. For the photo book Find Momo that he released earlier this year, almost all of the locations were found driving on backroads throughout Ontario and New Hampshire.
Speaking of his photo book release, I asked Knapp what the process was like for putting it out: “It was a long, challenging process. I’m used to controlling everything that I do, and I chose a publisher I can trust with design ethics that match my own. It taught me a lot about letting go and trusting others to do what you really want to.”
For a duo that is so well-traveled, Knapp (and by association, Momo) has quite a few places left on his bucket list: “Biosphere 2, Disneyland, a field of border collies, Newfoundland…I think it’s sometimes hard not to just want to go back to the places you’ve already been and loved. There are so many places that I want to return to.”
After hearing from Knapp, it’s clear that owner and dog have a unique connection to each other. Knapp seems to appreciate his home environment in Ontario in addition to traveling elsewhere. During our exchange, it became apparent that his partner may share that sentiment. “For Momo, I think he’s usually happy exactly where he is. A dog is a very good Buddhist.”
Images ©: Go Find Momo