Doggone Good Photography

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See how French photographer Sophie Gamand is helping animals through photography

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

New York based award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand knows dogs. In fact, she’s made a living photographing them. Through close-up portraits of man’s best friend, Gamand has made herself a name in the industry while simultaneously giving a good name to shelter animals through her charity, Striking Paws.

Her most well known series includes Wet Dog and Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution. The first exhibit features photos of dogs with soaking wet fur and the latter depicts the often-misunderstood Pit Bull breed clad in beautiful flower crowns. With over 45,000 Instagram (@sophiegamand) followers, it’s clear that Gamand’s work has struck a cord with animal lovers and we cannot wait to read her book, Wet Dog which will be released October 2015. Below, Gamand tells Urban Agenda NYC more about her passion for photographing pooches.

How did you get started in photographing dogs?

“I have been photographing on and off since I was 10. Portraiture was always my thing. I think it was a way for me to create intimacy, as I was rather shy and lonely. In 2010 I moved to New York and that's when I started photographing dogs. It started by accident, really, but I became obsessed and determined to explore the relationship between people and dogs. I have always had a strong bond with animals. Now I am learning to understand humans better, through the things they do with, and to, dogs.”

What is it about dogs that make you want to photograph them?

“Dogs are quite spectacular! They are the first and most striking example of artificial selection. Humanity basically created dogs, the same way gods created men. In my opinion, this should give us tremendous responsibility towards dogs. In big cities like New York, dogs are more than animals: they are friends, confidants, children, spouses. They even become social anchors for many people. Dogs accept so much from us. The partnership we have developed with them is astonishing.”

 Do you have your own dogs?  

“I don't have my own dogs, but I grew up with dogs.”

What other things do you like to photograph?

“Right now, dogs have my complete attention. I don't just "photograph" things. I create images. In a way, photography is only a mean to convey a message or create a beautiful image. I never carry my camera around, for example. I only use it when I know I am working on a specific photo or series. My photographer friends used to tell me I was not a "real" photographer! I could have been a painter or a writer, in all honesty. I just thought that photography was easier and got me the results I wanted quicker!”

What inspires your work?

“Inspiration is a funny thing. Everything and anything inspires artists. In my case, limiting my creative territory has allowed me to dig deeper and get more creative. Once I decided to focus entirely on dogs, I had to think outside the box, in order for me to find my own voice and style.”

Any upcoming projects or other things you’d like to mention?

“My Wet Dog book is coming out in October. I will also have my first large solo exhibit in Paris, in September. It will be a fabulous exhibit of Flower Power, the series I dedicated to shelter pit bulls (gallery Adrien & Kavachnina Contemporary). In 2016, I am hoping to export Flower Power to other American cities, via a road trip across the country. The series has been so successful and popular; it has given me a real voice for pit bulls around the globe. I want to use this voice wisely. To think we euthanize upward of 1 million pit bulls every year in America, it makes me ashamed. We have to stop the massacre, and I believe for that we have to stop being afraid of these dogs. So a road trip and a Flower Power book would be awesome!”