I started to shoot daily images while I was walking my dog some years ago. I called this work “Walking the Dog Series” (not very creative, I know) but, the thing is that through this photographs I made a connection and fully discovered Keith Arnatt’s work. I discovered that he died over ten years ago (2008) and that he had finished his “Walking the Dog” project forty years ago (1979). For these two reasons and because I also like to walk with my dog (you already know this) I decided to undertake a tribute to his work.
The images I made have the same formal characteristics as those of Arnatt: 1) be in black and white; 2) done with chemical procedures; 3) square format; 4) captured outdoors; 5) people and a dogs have to look directly at the camera; 6) all of them have to be inhabitants of the place where the photographer lives (La Roca del Vallès, Catalonia in my case) and 7) without any other person or animal in sight.
All images were shot with my Rolleiflex T camera. The chosen film was ILFORD HP5 PLUS at box speed. All rolls have been developed with Adox Atomal 49, a fine grain developer. I have made about 170 photographs, but only 50 have been chosen to be part of the book (yes, I’ve made a nice book from this work!), the same number of images that Arnatt published in «Walking the Dog». All images have been captured with the help of a tripod.
My proposal was to make an “adoption”, a version that superficially may seem identical but that is really different in the context, for the protagonists and, of course, the author. I have simply captured a segment of this infinite line that would represent the concept of ‘walking the dog’. Keith Arnatt was inspired by the great August Sander and his portraits of men walking dogs (c.1914). Other photographers have versioned Sanders from a more contemporary perspective using colour (Nicola Keens, for example) but I did not want to interpret but to perpetuate the idea as purely as possible from Arnatt, who put the seed into my brain.
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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