This project was born out of a wish to connect with other dog owners, to encourage them to think about their own relationship with their dogs and to help strengthen the bond between them throughout the entire participation process, actively involving the participants in several ways to obtain the material.
The material obtained via disposal cameras, pet camera, interviews, sound recorder, travelling smartphone and a digital camera offers insight into the lives of nine dogs, revealing their relationship with their human owners during this modern era. The created work sheds light (and some fur) on the question: What it means to have a dog in the 21st century’s urban environment.
The project is inspired by Victorian era studio portrait images in which dogs appear alongside their owners. I have also found inspiration for my work from such more contemporary photographers like Ollie Grove and Will Robson-Scott and their project ‘In Dogs We Trust’ in which the artists were seeking to present modern-day dog ownership and relationship with humans.
Much as the unpredictable nature of animals, so is the approach of the photography outcome. The work relies on the method of chance, leaving it in the hands of the participants to some extent in order to determine the outcome of the work. I involve them as much as possible in the collaborative process e.g providing them with disposal cameras and the travelling smartphone, which also serves as a tool that unites them. The work is also inspired by the 20th century Dadaists and their collages, which were also largely created relying on the principles of chance. My work joins the viewpoint of the three involved parties (me, dogs and their owners) and allows a viewer to be carried away to an arbitrary space where simplicity intertwines with complexity in the daily lives of dogs.
The relationship between humans and their pets is never perfect, much like the strategy of presenting the work itself. The raw material obtained from the participants is showcased as it is to give a viewer a more realistic feeling, taking a step back from a perfection and getting closer to reality.
Participation in virtual exhibitions with the project Human-Canine Bond
Images from the Human-Canine Bond project have been a part of several online exhibitions.
On March 25 and 26, 2021 Collective heARTs virtual world art exhibition was organised and hosted on the digital world-building platform Topia. The event attempted to push the boundaries of how people experience and connect with the arts, and how people connect with each other in virtual art environment. The photograph "Love'' was a part of this exhibition.
On August 6, 2021 #LANDINGS2021 was launched, an online collection of curated exhibitions featuring work by students and staff of the Falmouth Flexible Photography programs "at" Falmouth University.
'Sophie bonding with Doortje' is a photograph that can be seen in the #LANDINGS2021 sub-exhibition Human-Nature Bond. This sub-exhibition explores the bond between humans and the natural world and is finding ways within photographic practice of supporting a sustainable planet.
A 'Self-portrait in collaboration with Lexi, a five year old Labrador-Retriever' can be viewed in the #LANDINGS2021 sub-exhibition Self-server. The purpose of Self-Server exhibition was to create a visual representation of the hidden identities of the artists to appreciate process of creating and courage to stay behind and exist through art.
'Doortje' is a photograph that participated in the #LANDINGS2021 sub-exhibition (In)Visible. This online group exhibition explores themes around making the invisible visual. Visualising the varied narratives cloaked in invisibility.