“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 that resemble famous humans or important characters. The dogs become timeless sculptures.” – Sophie Gamand
By now, we’ve seen all kinds of portraits featuring our furry friends. Some of our favorites include Ralph Hargarten’s silly photos of dogs with human-like expressions, Ron Schmidt’s wonderfully witty dog portraits and Seth Casteel’s laugh-inducing pictures of dogs playing fetch underwater.
Unlike the others, French photographer Sohie Gamand is interested in exploring how what we do to our pets, says about us as a society. While on the surface her Wet Dog series seems like funny photos of dogs caught mid-bath, they’re actually meant for us to question the act of dog grooming or why we alter our pets’ appearances to fit certain standards of hygiene and beauty.
When we asked Gamand to tell us what she learned about dogs and humans from this series, she replied, “The thing that surprised me was the reaction of a handful of people who thought this looks like we were abusing the dogs! I did this series with the help or a professional groomer, in the safety of his shop, so I can ensure everyone that no dog was harm during the process. Well, unless you think that feeling clean and smelling good is a bad thing! Most people see this series for what it is: a fun celebration of the things we do with our doggies that make our relationship so special. It is a necessity for these dogs to be washed and groomed. Otherwise they can get diseases or infections.”
She continues, “Through my photos in general, and this series is no exception, I want others to see dogs for what they are: more than just animals. Our bond is so strong and unique that they really have a special place in the human lifestyle. There are more than animals, they are life companions. So when I photograph dogs, I look for the human in them: an expression, the life in their eyes, a smile. It’s almost as if humans and dogs are morphing into one-another in my work. It’s more than just anthropomorphism though. I don’t try to attribute human qualities to dogs. I try to capture the ones that I believe are already there.”