To The Dogs
No animal has a closer and more complicated relationship with himans than the dog. From the beginning of human civilization dogs have formed an intimate part of our domestic space and working world. From Sparta to Stalingrad, from the laps of Popes to the purses of Paris, the dogs of war, guard duty, and companionship have been forever at our side; loyal, adoring, seemingly endless in their reserves of courage and character. But at a time when what it means to be a human seems less defined tthan ever, we have begun to draw on those reserves as never before. And if for many the categories of "pet" and "owner" have become the figment of an unenlightened past, the re-emergence of blood sports reminds us just how "red in the tooth and claw" we still can be. The historical and contemporary photographers of To the Dogs observe the human-canine connection in ways alternately surprising, endearing, disturbing, and beautiful. In the accompanying essay, poet Peter Culley explores how our most loyal companions can tell us more about ourselves than we might car to admit.