Blog #178 DATE 10/6/16
Neapolitan Mastiff, Bruno
Since the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is held in New York City each February, and I had been photographing the bodies of athletes as a regular feature for the ESPN magazine feature “BODY SHOTS,” I proposed to the editors that one issue be devoted to the bodies of champion dogs – after all
the Westminster Show is considered an “athletic” event, and this group of award-winners are formed by their functions, just like human competitors.
The magazine’s editors liked the idea. I set up a makeshift studio at Madison Square Garden, near the area where owners groom their exceptional
four-legged contenders before going out to face the judges. The number of breeds and their physical variety made choosing “models” a fun and fascinating adventure.
These are a few of the “body” images (initially intended for the “Body Shots” feature of the magazine) that came to my “studio.”
The muscular chest of a Doberman Pinscher, Fifi.
The athletic structure of an Ibizan Hound, Jackie.
The powerful bulk of a Mastiff, Bonnie.
The shapeliness of a German Shorthair Pointer, Cisco.
I learned a great deal about the world of dogs and their owners during the two-day shoot: One was the remarkably close and even intimate relationship the owners have with their dogs, and perhaps vice versa. Seeing this closeness led me to another project, which I thought of as “Best Friends,” and resulted in these images:
Cane Corso, Leo and Kathy Eiler.
Samoyed, Rain, and Sharon Lowell.
Chow Chow, Brooke, and Victor Fernandez.
Miniature Bull Terrier, BlackJack, and Kimarie Wolf.
Norwegian Buhund, Chewie, and John Bradstreet.
Basset Hound, Annie, and Charlie Helms.
Miniature Pinscher, Golden Warrior and Joan Huber.
Having photographed hundreds of “pairs” to date, I can state with confidence that though it may occur rarely, it is generally a misconception, or at least a huge “stretch” that owners and their dogs look alike.
The range of differences between the many various breeds is amazingly vast – and these are just the breeds officially recognized by the Westminster Kennel Club. My subjects went from tiny to huge, slender to bulky and muscular, short-haired to shaggy and as woolly as sheep. As well, their personalities were just as varied.
Italian Greyhound, Detro.
Tibetan Spaniel, Starlite the Tremlin.
Anatolian Shepherd, Full Circle’s Treasure Island.
Tibetan Terrier, Cooper.
Miniature Poodle, Sugarbaby.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Wesley.
Skye Terrier, Dude.
Portuguese Water Dog, Comet.
And finally, having had, forever, a fascination with faces, I couldn’t help but make portraits. I found this an adventure like no other – fun, engaging, bewitching and constantly surprising.
Cane Corso, Solomon
Basset Hound, Turn Back Time
Shar Pei, Melody of Love.
Shar Pei, Melody of Love.
Pyrenean Shepherd, Gabizos du Picourlet
Xoloitzcuintli (the “hairless” breed), Himnotico Client.
Spinone Italiano, Di Ogi
Most photographers I know, even those with a singular passion and vision, shoot everything, constantly exploring, always looking for fresh magic. I’m the same. For me this project was a reminder that there are visual treasures anywhere, even in the dog lovers’ world.
Glitterati Incorporated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14” print of the buyer’s choice.