Bruno and I were asked by photographer Indre Cukuraite to sit for her. Together with her friend Helen, and Helen’s dog, Morrissey, Indre is working on Bond– a project she hopes will find fruition as a book.
It’s a collective effort from the three of them.
On set, Indre is low on the ground, so as to catch the dog’s perspective. Helen, a dog-trainer also acts as a second pair of eyes, checking on cleanliness of the composition; details the models and Indre may miss. Morrissey on cue, sings, startling Bruno. A startled Bruno then turns his head in Morrissey’s direction, and voila, his face is captured by Indre.
Bond is an attempt to express the relationship dogs and owners have. Indre has been specifically photographing dogs for the last year. She is keen on finding a way to examine the ties we share, but wants to introduce the human element in a less “sentimental” fashion. 50 people and their dogs have been invited to sit on a “humble bench”, and then shot from waist down. The faces will not be disclosed. Each sitter has also been asked to wear neutral clothing, and a pair of shoes that, reveal.
By deciding to mask the human face, Indre hopes that the sitter feels more relaxed with this sense of anonymity. At the same time, a more relaxed state, might perhaps allow for a more honest language in the body, sitting with one’s dog. The shoes act as added commentary to the relationship we see.
After the first few takes, I suggested removing my shoes. Indre liked the idea of my being a dancer and I felt I could articulate better with bare feet.
Eventually her idea is to link all 50 portraits together, to look as if the 50 of us are sitting on one long bench.
I asked Indre about the pursuit of truth in such a project. On the one hand, such a shot is staged, and yet the body has its own language, and the dog on set, his own mind.
The truth is always subjective, laden with emotion, She replied. With photography, at least two people are involved, so whose truth is portrayed?
- The photographs of Bond’s casting call, Bruno by himself, and the little white dog belong to Indre, and are used with her permission.