Are you prepared to have your heart broken a little bit? Every winter, throughout rural Spain, up to 150,000 Spanish hunting dogs or ‘Galgos’ are abandoned or killed at the end of the hare-coursing season because they are too slow, too old or simply too expensive to feed out of season. Considered to be past their sell by-date by unscrupulous hunters, these poor dogs are disposed of in the most undignified fashion.
Moved and saddened by their plight, Photographer Martin Usborne, who we interviewed previously about his amazing Year to Help and The Silence of Dogs in Cars projects, has photographed these majestic animals for his upcoming book – Where Hunting Dogs Rest.
Set to be released in June, Martin is also running a Kickstarter campaign to recoup some of the costs of creating the book, with 10% going to help the animals themselves.
Offering a glimmer of hope, the book documents those lucky dogs that have been picked up by charities before they die and who have found a place to rest in the rescue centres. These images are set alongside the bleak landscapes in which other less fortunate hunting dogs find a different kind of rest: by the sides of roads, deep ravines, wide rivers, edges of towns, empty car parks and harsh plains.
“The images are shot in a style that references the tone and mood of Velazquez who painted during the early 17th century when hunting dogs were treated with great respect. To kill one was a crime met with serious punishment. Now the dogs seem to have fallen from grace,” says Usborne.
“The photographs aim to show both the classical beauty of these animals but also the ugliness of their modern situation– their bodies are weakened, the expressions are fearful, their postures uncomfortable and yet they have somehow have an echo of elegance and grace.”
Where Hunting Dogs Rest by Martin Usborne, published by Kehrer is available at amazon.co.uk. See more of Martin’s work at martinusborne.com.
© 2014 All images copyright Martin Usborne. All Rights Reserved.