I can’t avoid to have a good laugh when looking at Sophie Gamand artistic photography with men’s best friend: The dog. It’s hopeless. They look too cute to not like it. We speacially like the work of Sophie and her artistic eye for photography. We had the pleasure to have an interview with the artist and get to know a little more about her work.
How and why did you get into the photography Industry? Where did you study, etc?
I have always been an artistic person. Photography to me is a tool that allows me to explore and express certain things. It’s part of my practice but I don’t define myself as a photographer. I did not study photography (actually, I studied law!). I became a full time photographer when I started exploring the world of dogs, in 2010.
How would you describe your style? How varied are your works? Do you have a signature touch in your works?
I only photograph dogs at the moment (and since 2010). And I would say most of my work are head-shots of dogs. It’s definitively my signature! I wanted to photograph dogs in a way that had not been done as much. Head-shots are important in my work because they allow me to create that connection with the viewer. It’s all about the eyes and the soul of these pooches.
What do you love about being a photographer?
I don’t have the patience of being a painter or a drawer! Photography is a faster way to achieve what I have in mind. For Flower Power, I also digitally paint on the images, but unlike real painting, it’s easier to go back and forth until you achieve the result you were looking for. During shoots, I love that moment when you know you got your shot. Especially with dogs, it can take a long time, and happen in half a second. I live for that moment where you are holding your breath and you know you are capturing something special.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s really hard to say! It’s a combination of so many things: dreams, thoughts, images I have seen, songs I have heard, memories. I try to always take my ideas even further. For example, when I decided to photograph pit bulls, I tried to think about a very unexpected way I could photograph them, and the idea of putting flowers on them came. Inspiration is about ideas that you push as far as you can.
See more artistic photography HERE!
What are some of your most popular works? Tell us a bit about some of your works and what you love about them. What’s your favorite and why?
I would say my most famous series are Wet Dog and Flower Power. Wet Dog is the series that made me « famous ». It went viral at the end of 2014, then I got a book deal (and my Wet Dog book just came out!), and later I won a Sony World Photography Award for the series. That series made my career and gave me a larger audience, which allowed me to start earning a living with my work. It also gave me a louder voice in the photography and dog community, which later helped me when I released Flower Power. Flower Power is a series of shelter pit bulls wearing flower crowns. The idea is to help these dogs get adopted, as well as break the stigma associated with the pit bulls, by offering an alternative image of them. America euthanizes upward of 1 million pit bulls every year. The country is faced with a major crisis and I wanted to see if art was powerful enough it could save those dogs.
Another part of my work that is hugely popular are my shelter photos. I spend a lot of time volunteering in shelters and rescue groups to photograph adoptable dogs. I have photographed over 500 the past couple of years. My Instagram account is quite known for those.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
I have been incredible busy shooting my Flower Power project for the past year (I just created my 150th portrait!). I just closed a show of those in Paris at the Adrien / Kavachnina gallery (they represents my work). My Wet Dog book came out in stores this week. So my plate is full at the moment!! The next projects are unclear. I need to start working on my next book I suppose! But I also want to take Flower Power to other cities and states. I feel vested with a mission to help renew the dialogue around these misunderstood dogs. I also want to continue helping stray dogs, promote adoption as the best option when you want to add a furry friend to your family, and the important of spaying and neutering so we can reduce the population of stray animals.
What is your philosophy on photography and life?
I give everything I have to my work. Sometimes it is a great thing because it allows me to achieve wonderful things, but sometimes I can see that I should slow down and enjoy life more! I think a good balance between work and life would be great. I always want to make sure I give my best to everything. Also, a good philosophy is to always follow opportunities. You really never know where they will take you. I never knew I would shoot Wet Dog, and I never knew Flower Power would become so successful. Today with social media, the public makes your career. But unless you give it your best shot and put yourself out there, the public won’t find you. Take chances, but always be the best you can be!
What are your photographic dreams/goals?
I feel like I am living them now! I dreamed of making a book, and it’s happening. I dreamed of exhibiting in a beautiful gallery, and I just had an amazing show in Paris. I dreamed of being able to do what I want with my art, and still make a living, and it’s happening (for now anyway!!). I feel in such a good place. I have to pinch me sometimes. But of course there are still a million things I want to do. I would love to travel more for some of my projects, make more books too.
Describe yourself in three words.
Obsessed. Unsatisfied. Tenace.
See more dog photography HERE!