Recently, we have featured the work of artists like Douglas Sonders and Fred Levy, who photograph dogs as a means of advocating for the voiceless and promoting awareness about animal rescue. With the “Rescue Me” project, the photographer Brian Moss occupies a unique space in this dialogue; in contrast with the polished, slightly commercial aesthetic of other animal portraits, his photographs of shelter dogs are emotionally raw and candid, delving more deeply into the psychology of his canine subjects.
Moss’s photographic setting is the Bergen County Protect & Rescue Foundation shelter, where he arranges a poignantly modest and “tiny ‘studio tableaux’ […] in between a sink and a leaky washing machine.” Shot under a relatively shallow depth of field, this magical little corner becomes all the more intimate; as well-worn towels and tender, raggedy blankets blur into the distance, the dog subject is fixed with stunning sharpness, revealing the touching imperfections of the face: eye gunk, snouts rubbed raw, noses flushed with pink.
Moss’s project was born from necessity; he felt for the animals left homeless, and yet it was too painful for him to volunteer at a kill shelter. This shoot, which takes place at a no-kill facility, is his tribute to the creatures he longs to help. The honest gaze of the artist’s images are reminiscent of his earlier project with body builders; here too, he seeks out a genuine connection with his subjects. The dogs aren’t posed to appease to viewer or to elicit less emotion, but instead they are free to express their inner fears with darting eyes, unsteady legs, and perked ears. Rich with empathy, Moss’s lens offers rare and invaluable insight into the hearts of our fellow creatures. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
When the photographer Douglas Sonders met Emma, a Pit Bull, black Labrador mix, he was touched by her gentle disposition and knew he had to take her home. With his ongoing personal project Not A Bully, the artist hopes to change public perception about so-called “bully dogs,” breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers, Rottweilers, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, who together make up 40% of shelter dogs.
Tests by the American Temperament Tests Society conducted in 2009 displayed excellent behavior and tenderness on the parts of these breeds, and yet unfair prejudice continues to cloud the judgement of adoptive families, and many dogs go without finding a permanent, loving home. Emma, for instance, was nearly put down and subsequently went nine months in the foster-care system before finding Sonders.
Through a series of poignant images, Not A Bully hopes to change all that. Sonder’s canine portraits are shot with the same careful reverence displayed in his commercial and editorial captures of celebrities; seen in high resolution and saturated in rich color, the animals are desperately emotive. Personalities shine through expectant eyes and eager tongues; the dogs pant excitedly, peer curiously at the viewer. Set against the most brilliant black fur, radiant topaz eyes shine bright, and chests perk up at attention, revealing soft and tender patches of white fur. Similarly, heads bow down slightly below the center of the frame in a show of trepidation and approval-seeking. These deeply-feeling creatures—capable of joy, fear, wit, and wisdom— are clearly anything but bullies. (via My Modern Met)
Few images of dogs can capture the magical abandon with which they move and express themselves, but the photographer and animal care expert Carli Davidson has done just that with Shake, a delightful series composed of high-speed, freeze-frame captures of canines mid-shake. Each shot miraculously pinpoints the moment of release; a wakeful stretch, the passionate freedom from a wet, unpleasant bath.
The photographs are comical for the strange elasticity of skin and fur, which seem wobble and move according not to the laws of physics but to the emotional governance of the animals; blissfully, floppy puppy ears swing from tiny heads, as if to take flight from the body. Similarly, hungry, drooling lips express the subject’s uncontrollable excitement.
Within Davidson’s humor lies a beautiful reverence for the canine subjects. The miracle of the animals’ instinctual motion creates sweeping, mystical swirls across the frame; drool, fur, and flesh move in tandem. Eyes open wide with the ecstatic motion of loose skin, and a Komondor’s dreadlocked hair swirls about like Medusa’s wild snakes. After a bath, water droplets and strands of shedding fur compose a starry cosmic landscape, lit radiantly against a black backdrop.
From the Chinese Crested to the Springer Spaniel to the glorious mixed breed, these canine subjects engage in a frenzied and physical expression and enjoy themselves in ways humans rarely do; in viewing their images, we are invited to do the same. Take a look at the joyous images below, and check out the print publication of Shakehere. (via Colossal)
With found Flickr photos as his source, Jeremy Rotsztain‘s series Obsessions (Flickr Pets) “document the love and obsession that people have for their pets.” The individual images are color-blocked and reductive, verging on abstract in some instances, yet the subject matter keeps them recognizable and full of personality. Each still is the result of animations made in C++ using the openFrameworks library — which just sounds impressive for a series from 2008, right. Rotsztain’s catalogue has a wealth of series that explore the overlaps of technology, culture, behavior and art.