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Down the track

Thomas Freteur’s Cynodrome captures remote communities gathering at Belgium’s dog tracks.

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Down the track

Photographer Thomas Freteur has been spending some time down at the dog tracks. There are only three (barely) remaining in Belgium, and Freteur’ natural tendencies toward unknown coteries dragged him from one to the other.

The remote communities, their short-term nervousness before the race and long-term unease about the future of the sport (for lack of funding), is desperately acknowledged on his series Cynodrome. And the baggage precedes Freteur’ study is interesting. “Two years ago, I covered the daily life of a pet cemetery… which slowly drives me to the background of greyhound racing in Belgium in 2014,” Freteur explains. “A friend brought me on a spring day to that incredible place, located 10km away from Liège (Belgium) and I directly jumped into that reality during one race season. I should also tell you that project helped me to face my fear of dogs, and I feel cured.”

Even from an impartial, initially frightened, perspective, Freteur is acutely aware of the camaraderie in the scene. He remembers overhead conversations, “There are people who do think that in a glance their dogs will run. But a dog, for racing, you need to give him love and training as soon as he reaches 8 weeks,” one trainer says. “We don’t go on vacations since 1998, our dogs bring us all around and that is our joy!”


All images by Thomas Freteur

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ISSUE EIGHT — OUT NOW

In this issue we challenge stereotypes, big and small. Klaus Dyba’s portraits of hairless dogs embrace the bald and the beautiful, Winnie Au’s fashion-inspired photos take the shame out of the cone, and the stellar lineup in Really Good Dog Photography stir us well away from the obvious fluff. We marvel at artists who can breath life into hounds on paper, screen and space. We travel to the heart of Australia, where dogs can easily become a hungry croc’s lunch. We fall in love with the ultimate four-legged bad-asses (we are looking at you, Brian Griffin) and we hang with farm dogs and their hip humans in the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. All this, and more, inside the covers.

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