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If you've ever tempted a dog with a treat, you can likely recall its instant focus, unbridled anticipation, and gleeful energy. German dog photographer Christian Vieler had certainly seen it at the end of every one of his long pet portrait sessions, when he'd toss a piece of kibble at his furry subjects. But what began as a simple reward has led to his finest, and most hilarious, work.
"I photographed every dog that came into my studio this way at the end of a normal shoot," he wrote in the introduction to Treat!, his 2017 book that's a collection of his favorite snapshots. "Then I stumbled upon them by accident . . . I gradually noticed how this approach created all kinds of crazy pictures."
"I now know these photos that some people think are ugly actually bring these dogs closer to our hearts."
You might think that "crazy" is an understatement when you see the closeup shots featured in his book and on his Instagram feed.
"The wide-open mouth of a dog with big teeth lunging for a treat can be shocking — and sometimes scary," he said. "Plus, there's often some drool flying around and the pup's cute face can get distorted. These pictures, though, possess a particular magic all their own."
Although some people have told Christian to stick to his more classic, serious dog portraits, he knows that true dog-lovers appreciate the action shots most of all.
"After developing more than 500 snapshots, I now know these photos that some people think are ugly actually bring these dogs closer to our hearts," he wrote. "In that momentary shot, we are able to experience our best friends as we seldom do in everyday life. We recognize their panic, joy, fear of loss, sheer desire, and the very pinnacle of enjoyment."
See if you can stop scrolling through these hysterical photos, and get yourself a copy of Christian's book, Treat! ($13, originally $18), today!