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Photographer Sophie Gamand says she's always loved dogs, but didn't know they would become her main subject. "It started by accident," she tells Yahoo Shine, "I had just moved to Brooklyn from Europe and was looking to shoot something in the neighborhood when I walked into a vet clinic and this little dog peeked around the counter. His eyes were so expressive and worried." Now, three years later, she's obsessed with exploring the intense bond between humans and dogs and says that "dogs provide an endless supply of stories." She does about 50 percent of her work for charity, photographing shelter animals in New York and helping find homes for strays from Puerto Rico for the rescue group The Sato Project.
Her latest series, Wet Dog, is her most popular so far. While some projects take more than a year, she snapped these photos of dogs being washed over one very long, very wet day in September collaborating with Bronx-based groomer Ruben Santana and posted them on her website earlier this month. "I was giggling the whole time behind the camera," she says. Pet lovers from around the world have contacted her to praise the work, but she says a few people accuse her of being cruel or exploitative. "If you have a certain breed and you are living in the city, they have to be washed and trimmed," she counters. "And groomers are the first line of defense: they find cuts and scratches, check their teeth, clean their ears...." The dogs may not be thrilled with being washed, but they accept what their humans want—and that's an aspect that fascinates Gamand. "Some of the dogs in Puerto Rico are so abused and neglected, but if you offer a kind hand, they still wag their tales and come to you with an open heart."
—Sarah B. Weir