Striking Black and White Portraits of Man’s Best Friend

Toronto-based commercial photographer and artist Mark Peckmezian, whose work we spotted over on iGNANT, has an ongoing series of portraits of dogs that we guarantee will put a smile on your face. Something about the way that he shoots his subjects captures their varying personalities; there’s such a wide range of facial expressions, and much more naturalism than you typically see with pet photography.

“I never intended to make a series of photos on dogs, really,” Peckmezian told us over email. “I mostly shoot people and diary-documentary snapshot work, and have for my entire photography career. I was on psychedelic mushrooms one night and snapped this photo on a whim. I remember thinking: harsh flash on shiny black surfaces render well, produces rich chiaroscuro; and I like the stately pose of the dog in combination with this. That photo sort of grew on me, kept recurring in my thought. I took another such impulsive photo of a dog, and then another, and another, and here I am now with a lot of dog photos.”

“In retrospect I see my motivation more clearly,” he continues. “I took these photos simply out of joy of photography — they’re not about dogs, really, they’re about aesthetic concepts, and I take them the way a painter might do sketches or doodles. I also see them as a reaction to art school: I had just graduated last spring and was sick to my stomach with all the vacuous talk and misguided ideology of art school. I think I was so drawn to the dog photos because they were so earnest, from the heart, not complicated with pretty words, just straight, unselfconscious expression — what attracted me to art in the first place.”

Click through to see a selection of our favorite photos from Peckmezian’s fantastic collection.

Photo credit: Mark Peckmezian