We don’t like to think of our pets as a ‘lifestyle accessory’. It feels cold, transactional, drenched in judgement. But there’s no denying that certain breeds have commodified into trends over the past two decades. It’s a tale as old as time: rarity equals desirability. And in this weary age of social media, where lives are curated with painstaking effort to parade online, some dogs have morphed into diamonds. They are sought for their rarity, their ‘upper crust’ connotations, the sense of status that their price tags confer
In Amsterdam, poodle hybrids dominate desirable neighbourhoods. Accompanying a newspaper article about the ‘doodle’ phenomenon, award-winning Dutch photographer Jouk Oosterhof shot the ‘Poedels’ series. The piece, written by journalist Doortje Smithuijsen and published at Volkskrant Magazine, examines poodles—and by extension, all ‘trendy’ dog breeds—as status symbols, akin to driving a Tesla or riding a VanMoof.
And while the content of the article is critical of dogs as status symbols, it never suggests these dogs are loved less by their owners. Rather, mixed poodles have acquired their desirability through their family-friendly dispositions, low-shedding coats and aesthetic appeal. It’s unsurprising this ‘perfect dog’ alchemy makes for great portraits.
The otherworldly quality of Oosterhof’s style is amplified by highly considered locations: “I search for interiors on house-selling pages, hoping to find lived-in and dated interiors. This gives me a fresh look on things, and makes my creativity flow, like when you visit a foreign country.” The photographer’s style has been described as ‘sublimated reality’, each photograph suffused with a delicate yet humorous, dream-like aura. Accordingly, Oosterhof’s ‘Poedels’ pose aloft a vintage sideboard, a bare bed set against faded 80s wallpaper, and other disarmingly minimal, powerfully nostalgic scenes.
Wherever your thoughts on hybrid poodles and their reputation as status symbols, there’s no denying Oosterhof’s ‘Poedels’ are aesthetic perfection, and highly desirable. Luckily for us, prints from the series are available via Oosterhof’s website.
We are thrilled to introduce Dog-Friendly, a collection of city guides for dog-loving people, created together with our long-time contributor, photographer Winnie Au, and fellow enthusiasts, indie publisher Hoxton Mini Press. Available for purchase here.
August 25, 2021
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 celebration of pup and pop culture for music and dog lovers alike.
August 25, 2020