Snapshots are about taking photos of things you love, things you see and have experienced, and things you have purchased. A snapshot of a dog is a surrogate for all of those things. To love a pet is to photograph that pet. And one of the most popular pets to own and photograph is a dog. And such photos often tell you as much about the owner as they do about the pet itself. Dog photos are timeless because the relationship between the owner and the animal hasn’t changed much since the dawn of the snapshot. The advent of computer usage hasn’t compromised or altered how we love our pets. We don’t share things with our dogs via Facebook or communicate with them via Twitter. Dogs require physical not digital contact. And nothing takes the place of petting your dog or playing with it-- not even a snapshot. This entry is not about a collector’s favorite photo of his or her dog, but rather a favorite photo of a dog they never loved or knew. The reasons why a snapshot collector would have a dog (or any kind of pet) photo in their collection is quite varied as you will see as you read on.
The photos below are in no particular order and Joel Rotenberg and Mark Rotenberg are not related. Enjoy!
Looking back at the newness of the silhouette photo it is plain to see that it has a similar path as the photogram in that it was a new creative way to use the camera. It started and then just influenced other photographers and hobbyists to follow. The subject matter was limited to humans, doing all sorts of things reading, smoking pipes, playing guitars, kissing, even sitting with pets but in a very short period of time the ideas and the newness of the silhouette was unfashionable. I believe it would have lasted longer and morphed into something else once the human was removed and opened the door for still lifes, flower arrangements as happened with the photogram. The use of the animal as the sitter seems like a start to me. It would be as if you had Fido's portrait painted in shades of grey. Still living due to the indirect soft focus.