The dogs of Public Animals are young and old, lost and found and perfectly imperfect. Korean photographer Hosung Jang’s passion ignited when he began documenting stray dogs while at university as a way of showing their beauty and value. “How they look is not different from how we look,” he says. “They can feel what we feel.” Of the 100,000-plus dogs which are abandoned every year in Korea, a majority are euthanised in just two weeks if left unclaimed. “It’s a reflection of our cowardly attitude towards animals,” says Jang, “and how we hold the weak responsible even though they don’t have any power or control.”
Inspired by Richard Avedon and Tou-Yun-Fei, Jang uses both black-and-white and colour photography to capture the intricate nature of his subjects, some of which have sat for him several times over the last few years. One such rescue, Ralph, created a lasting impression. At 14 years old, Ralph was sensitive and aging, even nipping at Jang’s finger while shooting. “When I met him again at the age of 19, he had changed a lot. He was old but still a little baby in his family. He passed away six months later, the day after Christmas,and his family thanked me for making such a precious memory. To be able to capture their story through my work was a truly special experience.”
All images courtesy of Hosung Jang
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