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Dogs: Gods

Sunday 07 November 2010
Words Spindle

Dogs: Gods is multi-award-winning photographer, Tim Flach’s second animal photography book. It contains astonishingly beautiful and original photography of man’s best friend from the fuzzy, white dreadlocks of the sheep-like komondor dog to the adorably cute sausage-dog to our spotty Dalmatian friends. This is a marvelous celebration of our close bond with dogs.

Flach is deeply interested in capturing the shimmering glint of our canine friends’ eyes from the large silvery-blue eyes of the Great Dane dog to the warm amber eyes of the Doberman pinscher. Unlike most animals, dogs possess the ability to maintain eye contact with us humans for lengthy periods of time. In fact, dogs are masters at formulating interpretations of our facial expressions just by looking closely at us. Thus, dogs’ eyes are a vital way for dogs and humans to bond with one another. Flach’s photograph of the Weimaraner’s eye is breathtakingly stunning. The close-up of the eye shows a splendid array of colours. The reflection of the dogs’ fur in his eyeball becomes white, delicate, wispy lines. Additionally, the pupil is surrounded by dark grey and blue crisscrossed lines. Light yellow marbles the eye, whilst, blue-pink veins streak across the surface of the eye. His watery eye glistens and sparkles with pure, white light. Flach shows us the magical luminosity of this gorgeous dog’s gaze.

Textures are another important aspect of Flach’s photography. One such example of this is his pictures of the Chinese Shar-Pei’s wrinkly fur. In one of his pictures, he creates an abstract piece of the Shar-Pei’s creased fur. A pattern of light rolls of fur and dark, shadowy stripes creates an intriguing display of shape and light. Flach makes a clever, gentle joke with the lovable Shar-Pei’s crinkled, creamy beige fur, as he photographs the sleeping dog snuggled up in a similarly rumpled, creamy beige blanket.

Flach is full of smart ideas, finding interesting backgrounds to suit his subjects’ appearances. The white standard poodle has an extremely stylized coat, a sphere of fur for a tail, fluffy legwarmers, a circular mass of fur on his back et cetera. With this in mind, Flach decides to photograph the immaculate poodle outside in a garden full of immaculately trimmed and pruned hedges and trees. The greenery has been clipped into perfect cylinders, pyramids and semi-circular shapes to complement the poodle’s own clipped fur of tidy, spherical shapes. Another wonderful example is Flach’s photo of the Yorkshire terrier. The Yorkshire terrier is no stranger to the showroom, and when pampered and groomed the terrier’s hair can shine with a glossiness suitable for shampoo advertisements. Hence, the sweet Yorkshire terrier’s smooth golden red hair complete with a red and gold bow is set against a background of a woman’s long, luscious, black locks.

Flach is brilliant at analyzing the dogs’ behaviours, moods and characteristics, and then conveying these personalities through his photographs. The puli is a lively and active dog, and Flach fully succeeds in telling us this by using his photography. The dog is running towards the camera, his fluffy, woolly hair flying out in all directions in a burst of great energy. Some furry strands leap upwards, others curve diagonally downwards and some stretch out horizontally.

Tim Flach’s Dogs: Gods is a star quality photography book, which is immensely enjoyable from start to finish. This book deserves mountains of praise.

Dogs: Gods by Tim Flach.
Published by Harry N.Abrams, Inc.