Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm not a big fan of dog photographs. I really don't like Elliot Erwitt's dog pictures - they always seem so twee. And I like William Wegman's weimaraner pix even less.

But when I came across this series recently, I must say I liked it.

Although these are show dogs, my best memories are of the whippet as a northern working man's dog - made for rabbit coursing and for racing. And mix it with something a touch sturdier and it's the perfect poacher's dog - a Lurcher.

The Refusal is by Jo Longhurst. (She even has a Steidl book out of the same title)

"My work with the British show Whippet - a dog bred to an ideal standard - focuses particularly on the evolution of the visual image of the Whippet, and the construction of human identity through the shaping of the figure of the dog."

Despite the "working-class" view of the whippet I gave above, it's also a dog that is found in various classical paintings from Tiepolo to the Flemish school to Dürer. And I've seen a General's staff-car come to pick him up, and as the rear door is opened for him by his driver, there's a whippet curled up on a tartan rug on the rear seat.

Finally, I'd have to admit, my old dog was half-Whippet, half-prize winning Sheltie (those skinny little guys can clear a high fence to get what they want...)


Unknown said...

these are nice pix, but i think your affection with them has a lot to do with your full disclosure related to childhood nostalgia? nothing wrong with that! i myself, like erwitt's dog pictures (though i wish there would be more honesty about the fact that his most famous one was set up and shot for an ad campaign) - but i love dogs - wegman, did a lot for me as a teenager, but as my photographic vision has matured, so to speak, i put them in the same category that i put most artists work that deals with animals in the studio, repetitive, and ultimately boring to me. that said, i have a lot of test shots of my dog, in front of a studio set up - that are pretty darn great ; )

people often stop us on the street and say, "I used to have an english cocker spaniel when i was a kid!" and you can tell that seeing teddy roosevelt has made their day, in the way that all good things from childhood inexorably pull us back into a happy past. so with the whippets?

George LeChat said...

You might like these

adrian tyler said...

what is it with dumb canines, where are the cat projects?