Ever since humans have held cameras, we’ve fixed them on our dogs. But since humans have held phones, we’ve been transfixed by our dogs. #dogsofinstagram has more than 82 million images. #cakesofinstagram is at a measly two million. The proliferation of dog pics caught the eye and interest of Berlin-based photographer Matt Karwen, who decided to create something different: A series of portraits that eschews humanising or caricaturing its four-legged subjects.
Karwen’s images are beautifully composed and complex: stoic, posed, candid, personal. Each subject stares straight into the camera. No panting. No costumes. Just dog. It’s unlike any portrait series we’ve seen, and it wasn’t easy to create. “The most difficult task was to drag the dogs attention without making them too excited,” Karwen explains. “When capturing them so closely, every single deviance can ruin the picture. One rule was a 100 percent straight look into the camera, which is not a natural behaviour of a dog, especially if there’s a guy with a black block in front!”
The black block did the trick. Karwen has turned the series into a book, Sit, featuring an extended posse of nonchalant dogs. The book is out now. We’re excited.
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