Moomah the Magazine
MEET THE ARTIST: Sophie Gamand

MEET THE ARTIST: Sophie Gamand

When we were designing our donation cards to raise funds for Animal Haven Shelter this holiday season, we were faced with the issue of finding good photographs of the shelter cats and dogs. The old saying goes, "never work with children or animals," and if you've ever attempted to get either to pose long enough for a decent photo you'll understand exactly what that means. It's not easy to snap clear and beautiful photographs of dogs or cats, let alone take a photo that captures the beautiful soul behind the lens. We got lucky when we realized that the role of photographer at Animal Haven was already filled by the talented Sophie Gamand, who donates photography time and expertise to animal charities and shelters.

Sophie is an award winning fine-arts photographer. While working on her own personal photography series, Sophie manages to find time to raise thousands of dollars for various animal groups. Her work focuses on the idea of dogs and our relationship with them, specifically asking questions like, "Are dogs still animals? Or are they the new children of a human community that grows increasingly disconnected?"

As part of her exploration, Sophie has developed some amazing series. Her most famous, Wet Dog, features portraits of dogs photographed during their least favorite activity: bath time. "Exposing the dogs at a vulnerable moment enabled me to capture their wide range of expressions. Poignant looks, despair, anger and even judgment can be read into their eyes. I believe dogs are more than animals and have acquired a status of persona, especially in big cities like New York. People here have difficulties developing meaningful relationships with other people. They often turn to dogs instead. The dog becomes the confidant, the best friend, and sometimes replaces spouses or children." 

Wet Dog Series


One project that we particularly admire Sophie for, is her Striking Paws project. It's thanks to this charitable project that we were able to get such beautiful photographs to use for our cardsStriking Paws is a project about photography helping homeless pets. Since 2010 Sophie has spent her time helping homeless animals through pro bono shoots at shelters (to help promote adoptable animals), education (teaching the importance of good imagery to shelters, sharing photo tips with rescuers and volunteers), and awareness campaigns she designs to shed a light on specific issues.

Flower Power: Pit Bulls of the Revolution

Her latest and most successful campaign, "Flower Power: Pit Bulls of the Revolution", is dedicated to shelter pit bulls.

“Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution” is a series dedicated to the dogs grouped under the name of pit bulls. I wished to portray this misunderstood group in a different light, to challenge my own perception of these dogs and the public's perception. I felt there was a disconnect between the way they are demonized in the media and the sweet, highly trainable dogs I met in shelters all the time. This series is an attempt to open people's mind to look at these dogs in a different way and open a dialog about pit bulls and our responsibility towards them.

An estimated 1,000,000 pit bulls are euthanized each year in America’s shelters. Victims of prejudices, uneducated laws and urban tales that associate them with ultra violence, they are probably the most misunderstood dogs. Pit bulls, like any terrier dogs, are strong and powerful animals who can required experienced owners. But does that justify the high kill rate? Surely not all of these dogs are a danger to society.

America is faced with a severe pit bull crisis that needs to be properly addressed: where are these dogs coming from? Why are our shelters full of pit bulls? What can we do about it? Can we decently keep euthanizing insane numbers of dogs just based on our misconceptions?"



Opera Dogs

Opera Dogs is an homage to opera singing through our canine friends.



Dead Dog Beach is another of Sophie's series in which she photographs Dead Dog Beach, one of the many beaches in Puerto Rico that is known for its stray dog population. The series captures the abuse that has occurred on the isolated beach including gang rituals, target practice, and cars running over helpless dogs and puppies." Animal Haven Shelter also supports this cause. They work closely with The Sato Project and The Dead Dog Beach PR Project to rescue abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico and bring them to the shelter in New York where they can find a good home.


(All photographs belong to Sophie Gamand and can be seen on her website)


Support the project:
Purchase a 2015 Flower Power calendar here >>

Proceeds go to the rescue groups involved in thE project >>

Posted in: Animal Kingdom   Discover & Learn   

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