If you were to look for all the dog related articles on this site, most likely, many of them were written by yours truly. I have an affinity for the furry four legged creatures who snore, slobber and smell, but snuggle and love unconditionally. One of my favorite things is to look at dog photography and through the years, I’ve seen quite a few, but none quite like this series.
Titled, “Prophecy,” this latest photo series from photographer Sophie Gamand focuses on the strange world of hairless dogs. Sophie has brought us the hilarious Wet Dog series, the beautiful Flower Power series and now this oddly comical set of images.
In this series, she focuses on two hairless breeds: the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli (or Mexican hairless dog), and mixed hairless dogs, both with dubious origins. Likening her funny looking models to “old wise men or philosophers, shamans from a different era, maybe a different universe…prophets or mad scientists,” Sophie worked with some private breeders and two rescues specializing in these hairless creatures – Bald is Beautiful and Bare Paws Rescue.
Sophie discovered while shooting this series that hairless dogs have interesting personalities – one breed being shy and skittish and the other skittish and strong willed. It’s difficult enough photographing dogs (and kids) as is, but hairless dogs, even more so, according to the photographer. Whether it is because of the way people react to them – many deeming them “ugly” and having to endure endless mocking and teasing – or because they’ve been bred to the point of genetic abnormality, Sophie found them quite challenging subjects. In an interview with Huffington Post, Sophie talks about one dog getting offended when she used a baby voice. For the remainder of the session, that pup refused to look at Sophie.
Through this project, Sophie became interested in exploring the idea “that dogs have been engineered by men…Whether it is to perform tasks for us or simply for companionship, humans have subdued an entire species for their own needs, alleviating their deep sense of solitude. In a way, dogs are the first example – and most striking one – of Man acting like a god towards Nature.”
She encourages viewers to explore a bit deeper when viewing, “Prophecy,” and look beyond the funny faces to ask, “what do we do to nature, in this case, dog breeds? How can we manipulate breeds, animals, genetically and turn them into things, for our sole pleasure?”
To see more of Sophie Gamand’s work, check out her website here.