North Vancouver’s Polygon Gallery has gone to the dogs.
“Dog Days” is a new photography exhibition exploring the relationship between humans and their best friends. Neatly curated, it’s a show the whole family can enjoy—as long as they love their mutts.
People have been obsessed with these loyal emotional support animals for a long time and, with photos from numerous eras and all kinds of sources, “Dog Days” demonstrates the dependability of hounds as both muses and models.
The images run the gamut from historical photos to cheerful military propaganda to arty portraits of two Weimaraners you may recognize from Sesame Street. The canine cast of 2017’s Pup Star: Better 2Gether appears alongside a 1905 photograph of a bulldog dressed up as a sea captain; imagine how hard it was to take a photo in 1905, and then imagine adding a dog. Walking through the gallery, it quickly becomes apparent that the compulsion to dress dogs up in funny outfits didn’t begin with Paris Hilton.
It’s a real treat to see 1970s Vancouver as backdrop in a handful of the photos—look out for John Denniston’s mysterious I want my dog back sign on West Broadway, Vancouver, 1973. And don’t skip the video portion: in one installation, Garry-Lewis James Osterberg and Shari Hatt enlarge and slow down footage of chihuahuas. The dogs loom on the screen with heads the size of coffee tables, transformed into slow-blinking, bug-eyed monsters worthy of their own anime series.
If you’re so inspired, you can have your own pooch immortalized during two dog portrait studio sessions (dates in July and August), one of them with Hatt behind the camera. Regardless, don’t leave your faithful friend at home: dogs on leashes are welcome to visit the exhibition any time.
“Dog Days” runs at the Polygon Gallery until September 1. Visit polygon.ca for more information.
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