Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek photographs a holiday resort, seemingly only open to Afghan Hounds
Back once again with his annual calendar, Daniel’s muse for 2020 is the elegant but, as it turns out, diva-like dog: the Afghan Hound.
- Lucy Bourton
- 15 January 2020
Every December, like creative clockwork, Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek’s name sneaks its way onto Christmas gift lists globally, with the release of his calendar for the following year. Over time, the photographer has formed a habit of concentrating on one animal per calendar – recent editions have featured cats and llamas – placing them in 12 unlikely settings. The results have repeatedly had us howling with laughter as we jump from month to month, and his 2020 edition is no different. Except this year, the star of the show is the most elegant canine possible: the Afghan Hound.
However, in true Daniel style, these are not Afghan Hounds running, leaping, jumping, walking or playing. Instead, they’re floating. In each and every shot, one of the perfectly groomed hounds can be seen atop a glimmering swimming pool, giving us the vibe of some faraway resort, open only to the world’s most gorgeous and pampered dogs.
For the photographer, making these calendars every year has not become a chore just yet. He notes how “a calendar is something you use all year that gives you some new amusement every month,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I can’t think of anything nicer than to transfer the joy I experience while working on the calendar to my friends, who get to experience the calendar all year round.” The simple daily functionality of the calendar is enough to bring him creative joy: “I love the idea that people use my calendars to remember the birthdays of their loved ones and use them to write down their names by hand.”
And why Afghan Hounds, you ask? Well, it turns out Daniel had actually first tried “weiner dogs” (sausage dogs to us non-German speakers), but found “they just did not float”. The Hounds, however, with their lengthy manes and serene faces, presented a logical solution: “Their form allows Afghan Hounds to float smoothly wherever they like, and so they were the perfect fit for the shoot.”
The only downside to this choice of a model, it turns out, was their attitude and their temperament to be “very selfish divas”, as Daniel puts it. “It’s not possible to ask them to do you a favour and suggest a shooting location. I had to use a lot of psychology to fool them,” he says. For instance, “I told them how hot it is today and how much I would enjoy a chill at one of these super-comfy pools around Palm Springs. Most of the time this worked because it was during the heatwave and I was lucky to shoot them enjoying themselves on the swimming pools.”
Now, with the tricky shoot done, months assigned to each hound and everything spiral-bound together, Daniel’s only hope is that his work makes its way to some “nice places, like toilets or kitchen walls, and that I can transfer some positive energy to their everyday life.” We reckon that’s a guarantee.
GalleryDaniel Gebhart de Koekkoek
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.