Walter Chandoha’s Dogs celebrates the renowned pet photographer’s favourite canine snaps

Curated by Chandoha himself before his passing in 2019, the Taschen book charts his genre-defining portfolio packed with expression and energy.

Date
5 October 2020
Reading Time
2 minute read

Walter Chandoha, born 1920, worked as a combat photographer in the second world war before a chance encounter with a cat on his way home from uni one day led him down an entirely new career path. As the story goes, he found a kitten in the snow and it soon became (as many Cat-stagrammers can surely empathise) his favourite subject. Fast forward a few decades and his life’s work became almost entirely consumed by pet photography. Apparently Chandoha’s archive of 200,000 images features 90,000 photographs of cats – the subject of his first Taschen book – and many thousands more of dogs, which is the focus of this latest compilation. Curated by the photographer before he died in 2019 at the age of 98, Dogs celebrates the photographer’s knack for capturing our canine friends’ expressions and energy, and showcases many unseen images taken over 50 years.

“Walter Chandoha’s photographs of dogs are compelling not just because dogs have an inherent charm, but because the person behind the camera knew his craft,” writes photography critic Jean Dykstra in the book’s introduction. “He knew how to get the shot he wanted, how to light it, how to compose it, how to capture a particular expression or gesture.”

Dogs features over 60 breeds, and a range of styles, spanning Chandoha’s expertise. Not only did his dedication to the subject secure his renown in the photography world; it also garnered commercial success, with his shots appearing on hundreds of magazine covers and thousands of adverts and products, with almost every pet food brand using his photographs on their packaging at one point.

The book pays homage to the vast array of Chandoha’s subjects, with page upon page of brilliantly characterful shots that are sure to induce a grin on even the most ardent cat person’s face. It split into six thematic sections: In the Studio, showing more formal shots; Strike a Pose, which demonstrates the personality of the pooches; Out and About, showing the dogs playing, some of which are taken by Chandoha’s own children; Best in Show, documenting dog shows of the 1960s; Tails from the City, pounding the streets of mid-century NYC; and Country Dogs, depicting dogs in nature. The book is edited by Reuel Golden, former editor of the British Journal of Photography and regular Taschen byline.

Dogs, Photographs 1941–1991 by Walter Chandoha and Reuel Golden is out now, published by Taschen.

GalleryWalter Chandoha and Reuel Golden: Dogs, Photographs 1941–1991 (Copyright Walter Chandoha and Taschen, 2020)

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Walter Chandoha and Reuel Golden: Dogs, Photographs 1941–1991 (Copyright Walter Chandoha and Taschen, 2020)

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

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