Dutch photographer, designer, and musician Marcel Heijnen says his creativity is “driven by a general curiosity about life and its meaning.” Now, if the meaning of life is tough pups tinkering away in gritty garages, sign us up.
Heijnen’s ongoing project Chinese Whiskers looks at the four-legged mates of Hong Kong’s goods and services industry, so far traversing shop cats, market cats, and now dipping a paw on the other side of the best friend fence with garage dogs.
The series Hong Kong Garage Dogs, shot during the Year of the Dog and collected and bound into a book, is accompanied by Singaporean poet Grace Chia’s sharp haikus (He’s my love supreme / Hamsum and I go way back / Dancing to disco), which reveal the ‘telepathic messages’ sent between garage human and canine co-worker, one that’s part companion, part security guard. On the whole, the Chinese Whiskers series documents a certain cultural period in Hong Kong’s fast-disappearing heritage, as much as it reflects the kick Heijnen (and everyone) gets from spotting a repeated subject.
If you can muster it, try looking beyond those doting doggo eyes and into a now-temporary time and space. Scan the shelves, trace the motor grease, and find evidence of life-long dedication to camaraderie and craft.
All images courtesy of Marcel Heijnen
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