/05 Animals

Tema Stauffer

Dog Show

Dog Show is a series of photographs that I started during the summer after I finished graduate school in Chicago. From 1998 – 2000, I subscribed to Dog World Magazine whose back pages provided a guide to locate dog shows at hotel banquet halls, Elk’s Club Lodges, and fairgrounds throughout the Midwest. Fascinated by the fastidiously contrived appearances of the dogs as reflections of their owners’ obsessions, projections, and longings, I searched for the most vivid characters to portray this cultural phenomenon and photographed both the participants and their pets with a stark flash and a direct gaze..With some humor and absurdity, the resulting portraits suggest the fantasy, idealization, and quest for perfection implicit within this relationship between humans and animals.