Some of his images could be seen as superficial - hey, let’s dress up the dog - but his body of work is so broad and so sincere that it is a marvel to me. I once read an article where he referred to his dogs as ‘space modulators’ and, even though it’s quite a clinical way to describe them, the thought stuck with me. The dogs’ function is more than just a dog or pet, and I really admire the way Wegman works with them. His images exude not only wit and humour but a tender observation too.
Wegman's first dog, Man Ray, initially just kept getting in the way while he was trying to create video art. The dog wanted to be involved (as inquisitive, high energy dogs generally do) and many beautiful collaborations ensued.
Listen to William Wegman talk about working with his dogs in this video by The Morgan Library & Museum from 2012.
I personally feel like a dog's ability to work with humans (hunting, herding, tracking, flyball, whatever) is one of the main characteristics that makes them a dog. I can't think of anything better than having a job for my dog to do with me. Wegman is an artist and he has given his dogs a role in his work. I find that really ground-breaking and inspiring.