Memento Mori — Four&Sons

Memento Mori

Yun-Fei Tou’s photographs show a great deal of respect and empathy for its subject matter. They offer us the opportunity to enter into the lives of dogs about to be euthanised and feel the dignity and the importance of their existence.


Memento Mori

Almost 100,000 dogs are euthanised every year in Taiwan. The dogs caught on the street are kept in the kennel for twelve days waiting for adoption. If nobody rescues them over that period of time, they are put down. The ones who are seriously ill and suffering are put down immediately. Yun-Fei Tou is the author of Memento Mori, a series of portraits of these Taiwanese stray dogs taken just before being euthanised.

For two years Tou photographed almost 1, 000 dogs. Each time he met a dog,  it was for the first and the last time. Tou took 40, 000 images and each dog was photographed many times. Tou didn’t want to impose any force on them to achieve good results,  so he played with all of them,  gave them treats,  hugged them and talked to them. He made sure that they didn’t feel any fear; and accompanied each dog,  until the moment that they were finally injected with the blue coloured liquid… “If they are scheduled to be put down,  and there is nothing we can do about it at least we can give them love,  comfort and dignity” the photographer says.

In the photographs, some of the dogs appear in very dire physical condition. The badly shaped one are partially hairless and have a disturbing human look. Some look like prisoners of Nazi concentration camps or Nazi ghettos. Others look perfectly fine, as if they have just escaped from a nice home

All the dogs were photographed against dark backdrops with the help of studio lights. They look quiet, without moving, as if posing for the camera. They don’t show any exaggerated emotions—not suffering, not fear, or even excitement at the presence of a friendly human—all seem to have a strong inner life. When the photographs are shown at an exhibition the dogs are the same size as a human. It’s impossible to not think of them as being equal to us.

The photographs were captioned with information about how much longer the dogs lived after the photographs were taken, adding an incredible amount of tension to the images.

Tou’s photographs show a great deal of respect and empathy for its subject matter. They offer the viewers the opportunity to enter into the lives of these dogs and feel the dignity and the importance of their existence. We are drawn to feel compassionate about their tragic end.

All images courtesy of Yun-Fei Tou



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.


Spanish photographer Sara Monsalve strives to ‘capture your memories’—to immortalise the beauty, innocence and wisdom of our pets.


Photographer Rebecca Rinaldi knows that to capture a dog’s true essence, play is the key ingredient.


An antidote to mass-produced dog accessories, MiaCara’s range of carefully crafted toys are designed to surprise, endure and delight.


Jouk Oosterhof photographs Amsterdam’s beloved family members (with a dash of lifestyle accessory).


What started as a fundraising effort to save photographer Kristoffer Paulsen’s beloved dog Josie, morphed into Melbourne’s most in-demand pet portraits.

Loading more posts...