One thing is for sure: there never will be a dearth of pictures featuring our most beloved of pets, the dog. Our canine friends are always involved in some kind of photo shoot, where dog owners like to ‘humanize’ their pets in various poses or depict them in some adorable way. Pablo Axpe‘s dog portraits, however have a different twist to the usual dog pictorial. Rather than portray them in the clichéd lovable and endearing way, he took an unusual technique. Most photographers will use the animal’s head as the focal point of the picture. Axpe instead focuses on the totality of the dog, giving emphasis on the form of specific breeds.
The series was created for a graduation project at IDEP University in Barcelona, Spain. It is entitled Canio. IDEP University is an institution in Barcelona that caters to the visual arts. Canio’s approach nonetheless is still a lighthearted look at man’s best friend. Most of the photographs have a bit of oddness, as this style used by Axpe is quite offbeat. One image has a dog that looks deceivingly like a floor mop, while another, a black pug-like breed has its mouth wide open, distorting the entire face. Other shots show the canines standing on their hind legs, while yet another focuses on the human-like hair of a certain breed.
In the United States alone, statistics show that pet ownership has mushroomed into a staggering, $52 billion industry. A CBS report also claims that pets outnumber people by 28 million. These enormous figures explains the thriving businesses that revolve around pets, like grooming shops, pet trainers as well as animal portraiture, that plays up to the whims of the owners.
The Huffington Post was able to engage Axpe via email. He explained that Canio is part of a larger project that critiques “the concept of ‘dog as a product,” He laments how dogs are churned out by puppy mills and how they are often treated as consumer goods. “Pet stores where dogs, cats, etc. are sold as products with Christmas special offers, gift vouchers, financing assistance, etc.”
View the entire Canio series in his website.