“The years shall run like rabbits,” recites the quixotic Ethan Hawke to Julie Delpy in cult favourite Before Sunrise. It sounds romantic, sure, in spite of the fact that W.H. Auden’s wistful ballad is a cautionary tale.
Such is the inspiration for Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene, whose series The years shall run like rabbits is less about anticlimactic affairs than the ephemerality of youth and the urgency of time. “Adults already know what they want from life, having experienced things positive and negative, so it’s difficult to pry them open and get into their souls,” she says. “Young people are so open and new and fresh; I can guide them much more. They are so inspiring, and I love to be inspired by them.”
Juxtaposing girls and dogs, van Meene took the images for this series with the same quiet formality found in early 20th-century portraiture. Set against the understated backdrop of a vacant home in Heiloo, Netherlands, the photographer’s carefully orchestrated compositions are haunted by a dreamy, melancholy languor. Her two- and four-legged subjects share not only deadpan expressions and stylised poses, but also a tenuous naiveté. They are by turns fragile and strong—the dogs tempering the girls’ natural awkwardness, the girls disrupting the dynamic between man and dog. “I picked the dogs like I pick my models—the special faces I find on the street that give me goose bumps—and matched them together not based on looks, but chemistry,” she says. “There was an English setter with these droopy eyes, like the world was leaning on his shoulders, and an Afghan hound with beautiful features and long hair, who turned and gave me a very arrogant look. I was in love!”
You can enjoy the complete feature in Four&Sons, Issue One.
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A heartfelt thank you to all the photographers, artists, illustrators, and writers who trusted us, dived in, and brought us delight, grace, excitement, courage, wilderness, and wonder over the last five years. Their work not only reflects the bonds we share with our animal companions, it also celebrates their spirit.
None of this would be possible without our four-legged counterparts who sprinkle magic dust time and time again, and our readers, who embraced this kooky idea, rallied around us, and made this world theirs too. With friends like these, who needs nine lives?
February 5, 2019
Harrison Ford has taken on a role that was portrayed in the past by Clark Gable, Charlton Heston, and Rutger Hauer before him: the character John Thornton in the latest cinematic adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel The Call of the Wild. John Thornton becomes a human companion to Buck, the big St Bernard-Scotch collie mix who’s the heart of the story. The two meet in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, and head off on an adventure into the great unknown together. Interestingly, Buck was portrayed using motion capture by Terry Notary, who you might recognise from that dinner scene in 2017’s Palme d’Or winning film The Square. Watch The Call of the Wild on Google Play, iTunes, and more.
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June 17, 2020