An Illustrated Tour of New York City from a Dog’s Point of View

A vibrant concentration of humanity, seen through earnest eyes of wonderment and infectious enthusiasm.

“A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city is like poetry.” So wrote E.B. White wrote in his timeless love letter to New York — a city that has, in fact, has inspired a great deal of poetry itself: visual poetry, like Berenice Abbott’s stunning photographs of its changing face and Julia Rothman’s illustrated tour of the five boroughs; poetic prose, like Zadie Smith’s love-hate letter to Gotham and the private writings of notable authors who lived in and visited the city; and poetry-poetry, like Frank O’Hara’s “Song (Is it dirty)” and Walt Whitman’s “Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun.”

Now comes a most unusual addition to the menagerie of Gotham-lovers — a foreign cousin of Manhattan’s beloved creative canines. In Americanine: A Haute Dog in New York (public library), French illustrator Yann Kebbi takes us on an imaginative and infectiously enthusiastic tour of the city from the point of view of a dog, “a merry canine” — a creature full of goodwill and earnest wonderment at the world, wholly devoid of the petty cynicisms that blind us to the miraculousness of so much humanity compressed into such a small space. It is only through such eyes of fiery friendliness that we begin to add music and meaning — to New York, to any city, to life itself.

Kebbi’s illustrations, immeasurably delightful in their own right, bear a palpable kinship of spirit with this singular city itself — colorful and deeply alive, they bridge haste and purposefulness, simplicity and sophistication.

We follow the dog as he samples the usual tourist attractions — from staples like the Statue of Liberty and Grand Central to classic funscapes like the Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel to bastions of high-brow culture like the Guggenheim.

Tucked into his journey are treats to which tourists may remain oblivious but which locals will recognize with nostalgic delight — the Central Park saxophonist, the archetypal spoke-figure of the dog walker, the Domino Sugar factory by the Williamsburg Bridge, the city’s iconic water towers.

There also semi-hidden perplexities that wink at the reality of the story and the reality of the city simultaneously: Our dog-hero wanders the streets leashed, and yet the enigmatic leash-holder always remains out of the frame — both a source of mystery and a subtle layer of civic history, for it is illegal to let dogs off-leash in the streets of New York.

The playfulness of the canine perspective extends a warm invitation to pause and marvel at some of the absurd things we humans do, which we’ve come to take for granted in the rhythm of daily life. As the dog peers through the window of a giant gym and watches people run in place without getting anywhere, one is suddenly reminded of how silly much of what we do would seem to a rational observer.

What emerges is a loving portrait of a city ablaze with aliveness, one in which both tourists and locals will recognize themselves — their dreams and their realities, mirrored back at them with eager and nonjudgmental eyes full of wonderment.

The wholly delightful Americanine comes from Brooklyn-based Enchanted Lion Books, the independent picture-book powerhouse behind such intelligent and imaginative treasures as Beastly Verse, Little Boy Brown, The Lion and the Bird, Why Dogs Have Wet Noses, and the illustrated biography of E.E. Cummings.

For some complementary treats, see The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, the graphic biography of the man who shaped Gotham, and the science of how a dog actually “sees” the world through smell.

(Via: Brain Pickings)

Dog Pageant by Sophie Gamand

In her series “Dog Pageant”, photographer Sophie Gamand explores the lives of small dog owners in New York City and the dog-oriented events that their lives revolve around. The images capture the phenomena of dogs and owners sharing appearances and oftentimes outfits. “The ‘Doggie moms” are women (and sometimes men) carrying dressed up toy dogs in purses everywhere they go. Through their dogs, they meet regularly, often for animal-related charity events, and for each occasion have their dog wear hundreds of dollars in bedazzled outfits,” explains Gamand.

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(Text by: Canbra Hodsdon, Via: Juxtapoz)

Colorfully Dreamy Portraits Show Pit Bulls in a Softer Light


Some dogs unfortunately and unnecessarily get a bad rap. We’ve seen efforts to show the beauty of all-black canines, and now photographer Sophie Gamand has shared with us a new series, Flower Power, where she aims at presenting the pit bull breed in a different light. Rather than portraying them with tough and gritty imagery, Gamand highlights soft, feminine tones to reflect on their sweet nature.

Before starting the series, the photographer challenged herself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. She admittedly had prejudices against them, but instead of letting them persist, she immersed herself and became an active volunteer with rescue groups. It was here she started to look at them in another way. Now, Gamand feels that they are the victims of prejudices and urban legends.

There are an estimated one million pit bulls that are euthanized in America every year. To raise awareness of this sad fact, Gamand made flower headpieces and approached three groups in New York City that are heavily involved with helping the breed. She set up a studio in their boarding facilities and photographed some of the pit bulls who were up for adoption.

Gamand’s models are currently available for adoption in New York City through Second Chance Rescue, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, and Animal Haven.

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(Via: My Modern Metropolis)