In ancient times, wolves and humans established a symbiotic relationship: the wolf was getting food on a regular basis, and the man was receiving protection from much more dangerous predators.
After their domestication, we created breeds, adapting the species to our own needs. Today, there are more than three hundred dog breeds although some of them don’t even show any resemblance to their ancestors, the wild wolves.
Canis Lupus is a photographic project that shows the often hidden relationship between dogs and wolves even in our present day. For this purpose I have looked for breeds and mixed-race dogs, which maintain that resemblance, and I photographed them, both in my studio and outdoors, trying to recreate their wildness but keeping in mind that they are still domestic animals.
Through this project I learnt that no matter how much of an effort we make in order to change their manners, it will never be enough. They will always have a wild side, and I feel it’s a positive aspect.
Nowadays, the greatest threat to the survival of wolves are human beings, since the reduction of their natural habitat implies a tremendous risk to the continuity of the species. It seems ironic, that we have created an enormous collection of dog breeds from a purely wild animal in which we are no longer interested in, and even try to get rid of.
Luckily, many people, like scientists, or just passionate animal lovers, keep investigating the social structures of the pack, and continue to protect their natural habitats. Thanks to them, species such as Lobo Ibérico can walk and live freely in Spain. In some deserted areas of Alaska and Canada, wolves develop themselves into the wild without any human help, and it seems that they’re doing well.
Have you ever imagined Amy Winehouse or Nick Cave as a Chihuahua, Neil Young as a Vizsla, or PJ Harvey as an Afghan hound? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette has done through his unique illustration project, blending beloved, iconic music legends, both past and present, with their dog counterparts. Pack of Dogs, our first foray into book publishing, is a joyful title designed for music, pop culture and dog lovers alike.
August 25, 2020