Culled from his larger Desert House series, Mark Ruwedel’s new book, Dog Houses, is a photographic journey into Southern California’s barren landscape and the dilapidated homes that dot the area. The Los Angeles–based photographer has spent a serious amount of time driving across America’s western frontier to document an array of subjects that speak to him—from the random surplus of broken records stuck in the sands of Joshua Tree National Park to the nuclear-bomb test sites sprinkled around Nevada and Utah. His visual studies are as researched as they are serendipitous, and can include several years of dutiful investigation.
Dog Houses collects 30 colour images shot by Ruwedel while working on various desert projects over 10 years. The focus is as much to report on the history of the area as it is to explore the relationship between owner and animal. Their houses are often constructed from the same materials, and both have failed to beat the desert’s demanding environment.
Ruwedel became interested in photography while studying painting, and his cinematic, large-format photographs have garnered him space in museums like Tate Modern, LACMA, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Dog Houses, published
by Rizzoli, promises a haunting and at times humorous look at dog versus desert.
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