Sophie Gamand is a fine art photographer with a dog obsession, and in 2010 she gave in to her obsession and began photographing dogs exclusively. Since then, Sophie has created some unforgettable series', including Wet Dog, which won her a Sony World Photography Award this year.
Her most recent series, Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution, is also gaining a lot of attention while gently encouraging the public to see the dog, not the breed; a challenge she personally had to overcome after suffering a vicious dog attack as a teenager.
What inspired the Flower Power Series?
I had wanted to work with pit bulls for a while, especially because I had prejudices against them due to my personal experience as a teenager, and after witnessing two pit bulls attack another dog.
While volunteering in animal shelters I would meet so many sweet, harmless pit bulls. I wanted to confront my fears and prejudices and force myself to look at them with new eyes. As people, we don’t like to be judged by our looks, yet it is exactly what we are doing to pit bulls. We deem them dangerous just because they look a certain way.
With this project, I just want to invite people to make up their own opinion as opposed to following preconceived ideas. It is about learning to look at things with an open heart, and making an educated decision when adopting.
How does giving back fit into your work?
Giving back is just a natural thing. There are so many people and dogs in need of help, it just seems natural to give a hand.
The Sato Project was the first organization to really trust me. I volunteered for with them for a year and a half, traveling to Puerto Rico to document stray dogs and photographing their rescues. It was an intense and amazing experience and I learned a lot about myself as a person and an artist. I also learned a lot about dogs, and the challenges of photographing in heartbreaking situations.
I work with a few local rescues, and always try to be creative. I take regular adoption portraits for their adoption page but also work to develop campaigns to help them stand out.
Do you have any pets?
I do not have pets. I don’t live in a pet-friendly building and I am just too busy with everybody else’s pets! I always say I have the best job, like a grandmother: I see them on the weekend and then they go home!
Follow the revolution using the #PitBullFlowerPower hashtag, and via Sophie's website.