Abi HeynekeComment

Legend: William Wegman

Abi HeynekeComment
Legend: William Wegman
Lolita by William Wegman, 1990

Lolita by William Wegman, 1990

Whether you know his name or not, you will probably recognise some of William Wegman’s work. His beautiful grey Weimaraners have become iconic, with their impressive self-control and expressive faces.

3D Shadow by William Wegman, 1993

3D Shadow by William Wegman, 1993

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.

Ethiopia by William Wegman, 2005

Ethiopia by William Wegman, 2005

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.

Ray by William Wegman, 2006

Ray by William Wegman, 2006

Red Toy by William Wegman, 2006

Red Toy by William Wegman, 2006

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.

Paw by William Wegman, 1994

Paw by William Wegman, 1994