Project Bond

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.

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It’s a collective effort from the three of them.

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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.

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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.

IMG_2084(Bruno and I resting between takes.)

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.

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The truth is always subjective, laden with emotion, She replied.  With photography, at least two people are involved, so whose truth is portrayed?

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  •  The photographs of Bond’s casting call, Bruno by himself, and the little white dog belong to Indre, and are used with her permission.

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