Interview with Sophie Gamand: Man’s Best Friend in Spotlight

Pitbulls and flowers are a strange combination that defies silly stereotypes. You can’t help smiling when you look at Sophie Gamand’s work. The star of all photographs is a man’s best friend; they are adorable, fresh from a bath, and just as cute; they patiently pose for the perfect shot.

It is a pleasure to introduce the photographer behind these artistic and candid photographs. Sophie Gamand is a photographer who has a unique approach to photographing dogs. Here’s some information about her work.

Tell us about your journey and how you got started in pet photography.

After moving from Europe to New York in 2010, I began photographing shelter dogs. Slowly it became my full-time occupation. I shoot shelter dogs free of charge and make living selling prints and merchandise to companies that share my passion for helping homeless dogs. My Instagram account, where I share all my models’ stories.

Pet photography has become an art form. What would be your definition of pet photography?

I don’t think of myself as a photographer’s pet. I would describe myself as an artist/advocate using photography as one of her media. Perhaps that is why my work differs. It’s the humans I seek to understand through dogs. It’s both inspiring and challenging to work with shelter dogs. These abused, abandoned, throwaway dogs are my muses, and I work with them on almost all of my projects, even when I’m shooting for Vogue, Free People, or Samsung.

Dog work is a very difficult job. They don’t listen as well to human directions. What are your photoshoots like?

Dogs are better listeners than I thought! It doesn’t take long to get dogs to understand what you expect. Dogs are intelligent, sensitive and eager to please. They are very patient and will follow your instructions. It’s easier to work with people than I do with words. The language is always there for humans (English is not my first).

How can you find your dog’s’models?

I travel to shelters across the country with my studio and set up in their facilities.

What is your favorite part of being a photographer?

Photographing is an easy and fast way to tell stories. This medium is very immediate to me.

Are you a practitioner of other art forms?

Recently, I have been returning to other media like collage, sculpture, painting and installation. I am currently designing an exhibit that will showcase my Flower Power series. I also plan to include other media. Photography is no longer enough for me. It’s difficult to give up on something once you are successful. It’s like starting over.

What is the best piece you can offer pet owners who want to improve their art of pet photography?

Photography is not just for pets. And it’s all! It is important always to strive to improve. You can take something that inspires you and make it even stronger. Make work you can’t ignore.

Could your explanation of the idea behind your series of pitbull photos with flowers be more detailed?

Flower Power features pit bulls rescued from shelters who wear flower crowns. I take these portraits as I travel across the country. They tell stories about dogs who have been waiting for shelters for at least 5 years. The pit bull issue is complex and controversial. These images can help us to see these dogs as dogs. Only dogs. Not monsters. They are beautiful, gentle creatures being abused because they are scared of us. Pit bulls have been feared for so long that it has pushed pit bulls into the darkest corners of society. This has allowed for horrific abuse to occur and a general lack of awareness. This series reminds us that every life is precious and must be respected. It is also a great way to get many of these dogs into homes. It’s been almost 400 portraits since I started it three years ago. It has been an amazing journey.

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