Where hunting dogs rest?

Shot in a style that refers to the tone and mood of Velázquez, who painted at a time when these dogs were treated with great respect, Martin Usborne's photographs show both the classic beauty of animals and the ugliness of their modern situation: their bodies are weakened and their expressions fearful. After his successful book The Silence of Dogs in Cars (Kehrer 201), Martin Usborne once again presents unusual and moving portraits of dogs. The photographs show the dogs rescued next to the landscapes in which they are abandoned in a way that is inspired by the painter Velázquez who worked in the same area where these images were taken and at a time when these dogs were still considered noble. In the 17th century, these dogs were associated with the nobility, were protected by law, and appeared in the wills of nobles.

Every winter throughout Spain it is estimated that up to 100,000 hunting dogs are abandoned or killed at the end of the hare hunting season when they are no longer needed, perform poorly or are too old. Usborne needed the dogs to be calm enough that they wouldn't run away when he photographed, but “other than that, he says, “I didn't want them to look particularly comfortable. Today, at the end of each hunting season in February, it is estimated that up to 100,000 dogs are abandoned or killed, which is considered too old or too slow for the next season. Using a medium-format film camera, natural light and background materials and accessories he found on site or brought with him, Usborne's photographs “aim to capture some of the beauty and heritage of dogs without denying the ugliness of their modern situation.

Dorothy Magni
Dorothy Magni

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