Interview with Dog photographer Sophie Gamand

Interview with Dog photographer Sophie Gamand
International Photography Grant 2019

– How did you get into photography?

I was always a very artistic person, and I tried many forms of expression (singing, poetry, painting, etc). Photography was a way for me to create intimacy with people and animals around me. It accompanied me me on and off my whole life until I moved to New York in 2010. Since I discovered my obsession for photographing dogs, it has become my full occupation.

– Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

in 2008 I founded a photography magazine and for almost 5 years I interviewed lots of artists: influential photographers, international masters or simply amazing artists who had touched me with their work. Sometimes just unknown artists with powerful imagery. All these photographers really influenced my work. During our interviews I discovered we all share similar challenges and questioning. When it comes to animal photography, Tim Flach and Jill Greenberg are both huge inspirations.

– How do you find the dogs to work on your projects?

It really depends on the project: for Wet Dog I worked with groomers and their clients. I even stopped dogs and their owners in the street! For Flower Power, all the models are rescue dogs who are in shelters. I get involved with communities, which gives me access to models. For my Prophecy series for example I wanted to find hairless dogs. They are quite rare so I thought it would take me forever! I joined a couple of hairless dogs communities on Facebook and the word of my casting call spread quickly. In less than 2 weeks I had 15 models lined-up!! Social media and meet-up groups or communities are a huge asset for photographers nowadays.

– What is the biggest challenge in working with dogs?

I’d say it’s both a challenge and the best part of the job: you can prepare as much as you want, at the end, the dog will do whatever they want on your set. It can be a challenge but it’s also my favorite part. As photographers we always have to control so many aspects of our sets (light, equipment, schedule, etc…). It’s nice to give up some control and enjoy the magic of the moment.

– What do you do besides photography?

I used to have many activities at once. I sung opera for years, I had my photography magazine, etc. But since my series Wet Dog has gone viral almost two years ago, I don’t have time for anything else than photographing dogs! I spend a lot of time volunteering with rescue groups and shelters, photographing dogs who are up for adoption. That keeps me busy. I was also working on my Wet Dog book, which is about to come out (October 13th). My job is my hobby is my passion is my everyday life! Sometimes I realize I should be doing other things, but there is just so much to do with dogs! (plus it’s kind of the best job on earth).

– What is your favourite photography book?

That’s an impossible question! I love books and I am so glad there are still many amazing publishers out there, printing the work of photographers. Not to mention all the artists who self-publish their work. I regularly donate to kickstarter campaigns to see artists’ books come to life. It’s such an exciting thing, to anonymously help a fellow artist achieve their dream.

– What are your future plans with photography?

I have lots happening this Fall. My Wet Dog book comes out in October (Grand Central Publishing: www.hachettebookgroup.com). I will also have a huge Flower Power solo exhibit at my gallery (Adrien / Kavachnina in Paris: www.adrien-kavachnina.com), from September 17th to October 12th. I am working on a couple of national adoption campaigns for American and French rescue organizations. Then, I am hoping to export my Flower Power project to the rest of the US, doing a 2 months road trip across the country to photograph pit bulls who have overcome all odds and gather more flower portraits, and hopefully make a book of it all!

Website: www.SophieGamand.com
Instagram account: @SophieGamand
FB page: Sophie Gamand Photography

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International Photography Grant 2019