Cait Oppermann’s series taken at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York shows the owners and their furry companions in the throes of competing where hairspray and homemade curlers for dogs are completely acceptable. “I was asked to shoot the show and it was kind of a dream come true,” says Cait. “The dog show is right up my alley photographically and it was one of the best times I’ve ever had shooting.”
We’ve featured Cait’s work before and she has a knack for capturing the unusual, like the odd characters at a US sex convention and the flashy details in a closed-down shopping mall. For Westminster Dog Show the focus is as much on the dogs as it is their owners. The primping and the preening is borderline excessive and we see scissors, hairdryers and tufts of fur framing most of Cait’s images. This level of perfection made Cait’s job of trying to shoot the show a lot easier. “This is [the owner’s] time to show off their hard work, so most trainers and groomers loved being shot and even helped make photos better by getting their dogs to look a certain way or pose.”
Brooklyn-based Cait found everyone to be “open and friendly” despite the competitive air and her portrayal of the event, showcases the wonderful eccentricities hidden within. To add interest, she includes a mix of close up shots of the fluffiest dogs you’ll ever see to more tense photographs of owners lined up anxiously waiting for scores, capturing all the drama.