Life With Dogs

This semester’s project is starting to come together.  I’ve had my first meeting with my mentor, John Fergus-Jean and I’ve also been shooting this weekend.  The project, in a nutshell: I am exploring the performative nature of the dog-owner relationship.  We always say things like, “when I go home, I can just shut down,” or, “I can really be myself at home,” or, “I don’t have to meet other people’s expectations when I’m at home.”  The truth is, for dog owners, you do continue to perform when you go home.  Your dog(s) read your behavior and use it as a cue for their actions.  They, in turn, are constantly performing for you.  Through training, you’ve taught them that their natural instincts, to be a fairly wild animal, are bad, and that they will only receive treats and affection if they act with the behavior modifications you have taught them.  A lot of their behavior is dependent upon yours, so they are constantly monitoring you for cues, and you are constantly keeping an eye on them, to make sure they don’t step outside the codes you have created for them.

For the project, I am incorporating 3 different perspectives: my own, my dogs’, and a third observational viewpoint that is more impartial.  I will shoot my perspective with a digital slr camera, the dogs will have a Go-Pro attached to their collars when they are “shooting,” and the third perspective is being provided by my laptop, which has been rigged to shoot via a surveillance app whenever it “sees” movement.  The third perspective will shoot when I am home and also when the dogs are home alone, and then dogs and I will shoot intermittently.

Some images from this weekend.  Unedited except for making a few black and white.  Not sure whether I will go with color or black and white for my perspective…

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1 thought on “Life With Dogs

  1. Crystal

    I normally relate more to black and white images but I find the color images here to be more compelling. Very interesting project, I’ve been wanting to attach a GoPro to my dog for quite some time. I actually had wanted to put one on Blue and let her loose for a few moments to see what she explores. I don’t trust Roxie enough to do this yet, maybe Blue’s old age seemed more manageable to me. I am really excited to see how this all turns out.


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