By photographing emotionally troubled dogs suffering from abandonment and aggression, the artist Martin Usborne chronicles his own painful struggle with depression. His recent series “Nice to Meet You” tenderly traces unknowable canine narratives by carefully placing the animals behind surfaces and materials: a wet glass pane, a cloud of smoke, pressed flowers.
In distancing the viewer from each creature, the artist paradoxically allows for a heightened level of intimacy with each dog; behind a haunting waterscape or transparent white shroud, each set of eyes glistens and each pointed nose seems to poke through the barrier, begging for closeness with the viewer.
In distorting space with long exposure times and unevenly textured surfaces, Usborne also blurs the notion of time; the animals appear ghostly, shadowy, and otherworldly. As each image leads us farther into this ethereal and lonesome dreamscape, we bear witness to the profound confidences of these gorgeous creatures, and they stare back, inviting viewers to empathize.
Ultimately, Usborne’s canine subjects recall our own murky and lonesome pasts, mirroring the dark places that we normally keep hidden within ourselves. In juxtaposing everyday statements like “I’m fine” and “I also work at the bank” with the charged photographs, the artist paints a portrait of isolation; he himself often repeated automatic phrases like “Nice to meet you” and “You look great” when in the midst of his depression. These animals, partially hidden by fog and fabric, serve as surrogates for we who hide behind words. If only for a moment, these vulnerable faces of dogs remind us that we are not alone; in lending us their quiet companionship, they become our confidantes. (via Design Boom) Read More >
Chances are that you’ve probably never seen a dog made to look like Disney’s Pluto. Well, it exists. Photographer Paul Nathan captured the odd world of creative dog grooming in his series (turned book), Groomed. It features professional groomers who use semi-permanent hair dyes and blowouts to style pets. Last year, Nathan traveled to Intergroom, one of the largest international dog and cat grooming conferences, and documented dogs that look like leopards, flamingos, and even people.
Groomed is strange, unexpected, and even shocking if you’ve never seen a dog made up like this. It might seem a bit cruel to subject these animals to this type of star treatment, especially when it comes to coloring their fur. The photographer explains in an interview with Feature Shoot that the priority is to make sure the dogs are comfortable. “In most cases the colors are done in stages on different days, usually in sessions of no more than three hours with plenty of breaks for the animal.” He states, later adding, “There is a vast variety of hair coloring products for dogs. They are all non-toxic and semi-permanent. Depending on the kind of coat the dog has it can last from a few washes to a few months.”
With that off your conscious, you can focus on how amusing these dogs are. They represent a relatively unknown subculture in grooming, and it’s only at events like Intergroom where groomers flex their creative muscles. They are responsible for their designs and take pride in them. And, the campy fun doesn’t end there – the people are often dressed to match the dogs they’ve styled. (Via Feature Shoot)
Photographer Sophie Gamand’s series Wet Dog captures portraits of exactly that – wet, half-washed dogs. This amusing series answers the question of what our furry friends look like while they are being groomed. Some dogs fare better than others, and look relatively normal. With others, their hair looks matted or completely covers their face. Each dog in this series looks miserable and wants the beauty treatment to end. Gamand writes about her series, stating:
Wet Dog is a series on dogs being washed during their grooming sessions. The way the water plays with their hair in a very painterly manner, and their facial expressions as the water is poured on them creates striking portraits.
The idea of Wet Dog is a silly one that is light-hearted and amusing. But, just because it is doesn’t mean that the technical ability of Gamand goes unnoticed. All dogs are posed similarly, but Gamand chooses how to capture the essences of their personality. Even though we have never interacted with these animals, a lot can be told about them. One dog (directly above), has water dripping and is gazing both upwards and at the camera. It’s been caught just before he shakes his coat dry. Instead of looking as animated, others remain still with hair matted over their eyes. These dogs looks docile and defeated, and I feel a tinge of sadness. Gamand’s series humanizes these animals in an odd way. With the absence of their four legs, it’s recognize someone we know in these portraits. (Via Lost Moorings and The Guardian)
‘Dirds’ is a series of Photoshopped images that combine the heads and bodies of birds and dogs. We’re not sure exactly who started this new internet craze but we have to admit that we can’t stop looking at these perplexing creatures.
Although they are incredibly cute, you might still find yourself thinking about how these flying pup hybrids are actually quite disturbing.
Photoshop allows us to have more power than ever before. We can literally make anything come to a tangible existence.
Grooming is essential to the care of any dog. These images taken by pet photographer Ren Netherland are from a dog grooming competition that take the necessity to a strange place. The fur of these dogs are cut and colored so as to resemble pop-culture characters, scenes, and recognizable images. Given, the creativity that goes into grooming these canines is surprising (but perhaps better redirected). What do you think – is this extreme grooming just silly or inhumane?
Hanna Putz is an artist out of Vienna who contorts and un-poses her models to make striking photographs of equally striking people. Her camera seems to mummify the models, and in their lifelessness they are incredibly compelling. ( via )
Toronto artist Matt Bahen creates thick oil paintings of desolate scenery and, often, dogs. Tweaked just right, the lighting in Bahen’s work almost renders itself the subject in each respective canvas, creating a sense that the elements most “alive” in his world are not, in fact, animate. Scavenging dogs and dying foliage or crops are often the only living organisms depicted in Bahen’s most recent work. And though a veritable source of action, these elements often serve more as secondary, blended, narrative connections than primary statements. In keeping with the aesthetics of B/D, this body of work presents a perfect opportunity to draw as much life from the dead as from the living. Bahen is currently showing at LE Gallery in Toronto in a solo exhibition entitled “After Wolves.” If you’re up that way, do not miss out. Read More >
Stephen Mattheu Booth knows how to make a character worth remembering. I can’t say exactly what it is I enjoy about his characters, but they all just seem like they would be awesome to hang around with, and even his abstractions retain this figurative charm. I’ve always had an appreciation for this manner of art in which one can imagine the artist making these awesome drawings on a couch, or in bed, or at a bar, all without having to go to a studio and worshiping an easel, or using some computer tool to clean up his lines. It just feels right. And fortunately, he doesn’t draw fan artish mutated forms of Spongebob or Mickey Mouse, but instead, his work seems to sprout (growth being important here) from characters like Slimer, Donald Duck, Pluto, and other childhood favorites. How could you look at that #$!@*☁ duck and not smile?