The Mutt Beach Story
Eric Sambol lives in New Jersey, where he has created what has been lovingly dubbed, Muttbeach. Eric and his wife, Lynn, capture the carefree joy of dogs playing in the ocean, running across the beach after sticks, and basking in the warmth of the fading sun. What started as a personal hobby when photographing his own dog, Sam, became an incredible community of dogs and their owners taking turns as the subject of Eric’s photography. As his reputation grew, Muttbeach frequenters began to seek him out for photos of their beloved pups.
Today, Eric and Lynn head to the beach with their rescue pups Hiro and Rocky, spending hours photographing dogs, playing with pups, and enjoying the magic that is Muttbeach. The community gathers at the edge of the waves on this New Jersey beach every day to celebrate their love for their dogs - and Eric and Lynn are there to capture it all.
Eric’s images capture the true bliss of the beach and what we all love so much about our dogs- their carefree joy. Read on for Eric’s own words about his experience at Muttbeach :
I am a wildlife photographer (@ericsambol) who, with my wife Lynn (@lynnsambol), have traveled to Canada and Alaska to photograph bears, Africa for Mountain Gorillas and Lions, Brazil for Jaguar and recently to Patagonia to photograph Puma in an other-worldly landscape.
In the fall of 2015, I moved to Spring Lake, NJ where I discovered another photographic fixation...the beauty of the atmospheric light and the sea. We would often take long beach walks during the golden light of dawn and dusk to capture this quality. However, our lives would be changed for the better in 2017 after we adopted Sam, our yellow lab mix. Sam would accompany Lynn and I on our beach walks where he soon became the centerpiece of our photographs.
As luck and maybe destiny would have it, the town’s dog friendly beach was directly across the street from our home. Soon enough, other pooches got into the act and Muttbeach was born!
We never imagined how our love for the sea, sky and pups could come together and be expressed in this imagery. The greatest benefit of all is how our lives have been enriched by the many friendships that come from our experience right here!
In addition, we’ve been honored and touched to be part of the love and life that happens here. We’ve been inspired by pups living freely with handicaps, last moments of families with their pups and even marriage proposals following commissioned shoots.
We are truly grateful for our lives here. Thank you, Sam!
Love, Lynn & Eric
We’ll leave you with a poem written by Beth Savitz Laliberte, a Muttbeach community member. Her words beautifully encapsulate the feeling of being at Muttbeach, where nothing matters but sun, sea, and the joy of pups playing in the water.
There was the ocean and the sand.
There was a camera and a man,
And there was a dog named Sam.
And that was how MuttBeach came to be,
With friendships forming by the sea.
It took all of these things to make it right
As we watched the dogs frolick day and night.
Nature and pictures and four legged friends
Made strangers comfortable through the eye of a lens.
No matter what the world tossed our way,
You could count on the fact that the dogs would play.
It always existed, this expanse of beach,
But the camera and Sam made it a place of peace.
For you could count on seeing a ball in the air,
Followed by a splash in the water without a care.
This place took on new life with a dog named Sam,
Who taught us how to share in the beauty of the land.