Prophecy: Hairless Breeds

Series Exploring the Beauty of Hairless Dogs Has a Surprisingly Ominous Meaning

From Dalmatians to Yorkshire Terriers, Modern day dogs are a product of centuries of human genetic engineering through artificial selection. In the ongoing series, Prophecy, French award-winning photographer, Sophie Gamand explores the unique beauty of hairless dogs that are often mocked or called ugly.

Far from being just another one of those cutesy pet obsessed projects abound on the Internet, Prophecy is a comment on the tendency of man to play God, through manipulations of nature, and it’s unfortunate outcomes.

‘I find it easier working with animals. I like that I don’t have to give detailed instructions. I can just let them be, and grab their attention, or give them short directions like ‘sit, stay’. I bet a lot of fashion photographers would love that!’

Sophie photographed her canine models as if they were people; philosophers, shamans, mad scientists or prophets warning us that the end is near. The images are ‘Nature looking straight at us,’ Sophie says in the text accompanying the series, ‘and begging us to repent.’
Sophie told us more about her work:

The Plus: Tell us about the moment you first decided to focus a lens on dogs.
Sophie Gamand: When I moved to NYC in 2010, I was coming from Europe and knew nobody. I had to completely reinvent myself. Shortly after arriving, I bumped into a vet clinic in my neighbourhood that looked inviting. I went inside to ask if I could take photos of them at work. They were very suspicious of my motives! But as I waited for them in the waiting room, I saw a dog peeking from behind a wall and I snapped his portrait. He looked completely out of place and worried. It got me thinking: why are we imposing such urban lifestyles on dogs? And I started exploring all the things people do with their dogs in New York.

TP: Do you have any funny stories from shooting the prophecy series?
SG: Xolos are quite interesting dogs. Very majestic and very independent. They are not quite like any other dog I have met. They probably are the exact opposite of Golden Retrievers! They are smart, sharp, they look at you as if they were scanning you. Needless to say, photographing them was extremely challenging. One thing that was really funny on set is that many of them would go crazy for lettuce and green beans. That was their highest value treat. Another fun story: One of my model, a standard Xolo that competes in shows, got offended during our shoot. I used a baby voice. He looked at me with disgust and turned away. His owner said ‘uh oh, oh no, you offended him. He hates the baby voice. I think the shoot is over now. There is no way he is going to want to look at you again.’ And she was right.

TP: If you were a dog, what breed would you be?
SG: Definitively a mutt. They are so interesting and unique. Probably a low rider, with fluffy ears and soulful eyes. And possibly red hair. I met that dog. I helped rescue him in Puerto Rico. He was my dog soulmate! I could not keep him but he was adopted by a great family. I miss him everyday. I think he was me and I was him.

Watch more here.