Meet Alan – he’s a Standard Poodle. If you’re an avid dogshow attendee, you might just know him as Afterglow Sugar Daddy. The above image of Alan / Afterglow Sugar Daddy is one of dozens of photographs of all kinds of dogs taken by Tim Flach specially for his new book, rather appropriately titled Dogs, published by Abrams…
Hardback, an inch thick and 12 x 12 inches in size, the book is quite a beast in itself but that’s no bad thing – it’s great to see Flach’s imagery produced at this page size, and there are plenty of full bleed double page spread shots too. However, the book is not merely a book of beautiful images of all kinds of dogs, large small, ugly, graceful, well groomed, hugely hairy and otherwise – it’s more. It’s a look at the relationship between man and his best friend. “The book explores questions around our diversification of that species,” Flach tells us. “The dog was a grey wolf until mankind got its hands on it.”
A Siberian Husky
Complete with text by one time Creative Review editor Lewis Blackwell, the book offers all kinds of insights to the different dog breeds photographed specially for the book. Did you know, for example, that a Dalmatian’s spots actually signify one of the breed’s less favourable genetic traits that leads to a degree of deafness in up to thirty percent of all born? This weaknesss could, theoretically, be bred out as the more black patches on a Dalmatian, the less likely it is to suffer deafness. But breeders like the spots, rather than larger black patches so that’s how it is…
Did you also know that the Labradoodle, a cross between a labrador retriever and a poodle, was deliberately bred for the first time in 1989 with a view to mixing the low-shedding aspects of a poodle’s coat with the trainability of a labrador – the outcome being to produce a guide dog for those with allergies to dog hair? Did you also know that a representative of the breed narrowly missed out (to a Portuguese water dog) on being the current White House dog? All true!
Freddy is a French Bulldog. He hangs out in a London advertising agency by day. No idea what he likes to do when he’s not at work
Another fascinating fact I gleaned whilst immersed in a copy of the book this morning was that racism appears to exist in the human / dog relationship. For some unknown reason, we prefer other colours of dogs, black being the least favourite. Rescue homes have more black dogs in need of re-housing than any other colour.
“Reasons for this ‘black dog syndrome’ vary,” runs the text in the book on the subject, “but one of the most plausible links to our need to find a dog face that we can fall in love with. Black dogs are less obviously showy in their facial features, less baby-like on first glance compared to some young dogs. This all says much more about the weaknesses of humans than dogs.”
Flach’s Dogs book contains images of pure breeds, cross breeds, genetically cloned dogs, dogs that sniff out explosive devices, show-winning dogs, sitting dogs and leaping dogs. From dogs owned by wealthy land owners to dogs found in rescue homes, the book offers beautiful, page-turning imagery, insight and commentary in equal measures. Here are a selection of spreads and images from the book:
A Chow Chow and a Little Lion Dog
This bundle of fluff is a Pekingese. “DNA research reveals that it is one of the most ancient of breeds, with the smallest variation from the ancestral Asian wolves.” Amazing, but you can’t argue with DNA
Another ancient breed, the Afghan Hound. Nice hair, too. Very chic
Bichon Frise – a friendly little dog that is good for those with allergies. The particular style of doggy haircut being sported by the little chap above is known as a ‘Lion Cut’
Komondor – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And on the right is a Leicester Longwool – which is a sheep. Not a dog
A Pointer. Doing what he does best
English Springer Spaniel
This pair of Doberman Pinschers are having their ears ‘trained’ to stick up by bandaging them to posts. That’s the way American Doberman breeders have traditionally liked them to look – and to achieve this look, the ears are cropped (trimmed) and set in the upright position for a month or so. American Doberman owners will also have their dogs tails docked too. This means their tails are cut right back shortly after birth.
This is a trained German Shepherd dog – the kind used by the police the world over. Known by criminals as a “land shark” apparently. This image shows why!
No, this isn’t a lion with a zebra tattoo. It’s a standard poodle that’s been groomed creatively. ‘Creative grooming’ is worth Googling if you have a spare moment. Some of the images of such extreme grooming have to be seen to be believed
A Boxer. Possibly the cleanest, best groomed example of the breed ever photographed
Rafferty is a “Staffie” or, to give him his full breed name, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He was a resident of Battersea Dogs Home when Flach photographed him for the book. If he’s still there, I suspect he won’t be for much longer
Dogs by Tim Flach is published by Abrams, £30
See more of Flach’s work at timflach.com
If you picked up a copy of our recently published Photography Annual issue, then you might have spotted Flach’s images of a particular breed of hairy dog which featured in the Best in Book section. More info about the Photography Annual issue here