Photography
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The Silence of Dogs in Cars

The Silence of Dogs in Cars is a project by photographer Martin Usborne. it is as beautiful and striking as it is sad and upsetting… and sometimes, oddly amusing. i have picked my ten favourites below out of the 41 amazing photographs he took for the series. of course no one can describe the project better than Martin himself,

I was once left in a car at a young age. I don’t know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don’t matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. The fear I felt was strong: in a child’s mind it is possible to be alone forever.

Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals – in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I saw a TV documentary that included footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back.

I should say that I was a well-loved child and never abandoned and yet it is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard.

When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. In a sense, I was attempting to go back inside my car, to re-experience what I couldn’t bear as a child. What I didn’t expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.

There is life in the darkest places inside us.

Martin is currently spending a year to see how many animals he can save in 365 days. Read the ongoing blog here. He hopes for this to become his next book.

thanks to Thisispaper for introducing me to his work.

all photos by Martin Usborne

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for exposing me to this. It’s very interesting work, as is his explanation. I have never, ever been able to leave my dog alone in the car. Not even for a minute. Way too much anxiety for me bc he’s my baby. So I’ve never seen how he is in the car alone but it’s fascinating seeing how dogs react; just like people; so differently (that last one!). I used to live next to a busy but quaint street of little shops and boutiques. The number of people who used to tie their dogs to the parking meters while they went inside was innumerable. It wasn’t in a cruel way (well, for me to do it it would have been but it’s socially acceptable for the most part and of course it wasn’t horrible – I also couldn’t do that though!) and all the shops knew it and put out water dishes for the dogs; but I used to just stop and pet the dog the entire time until their owner came back…which was sometimes awhile. I just couldn’t fathom leaving them like that. You wouldn’t tie your kid up outside (haha, well I don’t know…maybe people want to sometimes). I never said anything to the people, even when it was snowing out but maybe a picture of their dog waiting would have said a 1,000 words! His next project sounds even better! And yeah, I just wrote way to much in response to this, oops :)

  2. Pingback: Favoritos da semana | La Vida en Fotografía

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