The Dignity Project
Started in April 2014, DIGNITY is a fine-art photo project on senior canines done in collaboration between photographer Robert MacLellan and ElderDog Canada.
Some 40 senior dogs have been photographed at various spaces donated across NS, with but a handful of sample images as yet released. Spring of 2015 sees the shooting stage of the project entering its final stages, after which images will be chosen by ElderDog to be used in various forms.
“The project is designed to draw attention to the issues facing senior dogs by highlighting their grace, dignity and stalwart nature. If you think of aging silver screen stars (some of whom have sadly since passed away) getting together to help their fellows in less fortunate circumstances, you’ll get the idea.
However, unlike so many photo projects regarding older animals, we designed DIGNITY to show these seniors as their caregivers, veterinarians and ourselves, as photographers, see them. Not the way the creative community sadly so often portrays them.
Each dog, without exception, would be photographed no differently than would be a human senior.
The goal was to respect our models, not to exploit their often decades of loyal companionship and any medical challenges in order to ‘get eyeballs’. There would be no cherry-picking models, no use of lighting, camera angles or funky processing to emphasize their signs of aging, illness or injury. In short, there’d be no digital artifice used to elicit unwarranted sympathy.
While getting air -time in today’s hyper-saturated ‘social media environment is tough, it wasn’t a hard choice to make.”
– Robert MacLellan