I read somewhere that dogs are essentially studying us, figuring out what we want in order to get food and shelter and benefit from our largesse. It’s a strategy that seems to be working for them. However there are one or two downsides. For example, they might be required to dress as a hot dog or perhaps Darth Vader.
If they’re really lucky they might get to be owned by William Wegman. His dogs get dressed up in style and get their images immortalized for eternity courtesy of his beautifully composed and well thought out imagery.
It strikes me that these pictures aren’t really possible without patience and a certain man-dog trust that only comes by treating your canines well. I imagine there’s a good deal of doggie chocs on hand to ease the process.
Of course Wegman doesn’t just amuse us with his imaginative imagery, he also charms us by allowing us to see the dogs reaction to what is occurring.
Witness the hangdog resignation of the mutt in ‘Oaken’.
Or for that matter the look of trepidation of the balancing canine in ‘Kit’.
Or the patience of the dog in spring, which probably wishes the sprig on his face, was a very large chocolate.
Even the posture in ‘U-Tree’, where the dog is not even showing us her head let alone her eyes, is charming because the posture is so ‘dog’. The animal is oblivious to the camera and highly aware of the smells of her own body and the nature that surrounds her.
It takes a man who loves dogs to bring out this essential ‘dogness’ without which the pictures would be just mildly amusing, artfully done studies.
In fact you might say they represent a homage to the dog or at the very least a sort of apology for dressing them up like a gnome.