Have you ever looked at your dog and known instinctively what they are trying to say even though they cannot say it? Have you come to a point where every shake of a paw and every brooding expression says more than any verbal conversation could?
Such is the premise behind Japanese photographer Hiroshi Takagi’s new book Dogs Talk to Us, a collection of endearing images of his dog Taro taken over the past five years. Being a photographer, it was only natural that Taro should become the focus of many an impromptu Takagi photo shoot. “It must have been my dog’s destiny to become my subject, already at the time when he came to me. Long before publishing was even discussed and ever since around the time my dog was born, I had been taking photos of him continuously, without deadlines. I think that helped with his relaxed facial expressions” the photographer explains.
Through these photos he began to notice that although man and dog don’t have a common language, they can still communicate in other ways like facial expressions and body language. “These photographs are full of abundant joy, of a dog that is skilful in communicating. I hope that the readers will put their ears closer to the dogs near them, interact with them and make their own dog dictionaries” he adds.
All the photographs are in black and white, a further nod to how we can occupy the same space as our dogs harmoniously. “We think that dogs have limited ability to identify two colours, as well as the gradation between them. There is a big difference between our ability to perceive colour and that of dogs. I chose monochrome over colour in order to get closer to the colour of the world that dogs see” he says.
Dogs Talk to Us is a thoughtful insight into our best mates, and how we all should take the time and really listen to what they have to say.
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