• DAY 167: BACK TO SPAIN!

    Mar 3rd
    Pretty but painful, Spain is pulling me back.

    Pretty but painful, Spain is pulling me back.

    I can’t keep away.

    I’ve been bitten by the Galgos. As it were… 

    I’m heading to Spain on Monday.

    I’m going to visit Martin, the rescued podenco fatefully named after me, and his friend the galga. But I’m going back also because I want to do more photos to make a complete project about the Galgos.

    I find these dogs so beautiful and their story so upsetting that I want something more out of the photos. The pictures I have taken so far have been rewarding but there is more to capture.

     

    The prints being prepared in the studio. They look wonderful. I want to take more!

    The prints being prepared in the studio. They look wonderful. I want to take more!

    But how will photos save the dogs?

    If the photos are good enough – and unusual enough -they will go across the internet as well as into magazines and maybe into a gallery and in their small way help raise awareness. But this time I’m going back with my traditional film camera, some fabric backdrops and a very clear idea of what I want to capture.

    Here is a picture by the 17th Century Spanish painter Velazquez

    I'm interested in the colours in this painting by the Spanish painter Velazquez: the rich yellows, reds, browns, like the earth of a parched spanish landscape

    I’m interested in the colours in this painting by the Spanish painter Velazquez: the rich yellows, reds, browns, like the earth of a parched Spanish landscape

     

    Here is a classical dog painting: strong, regal, romantic.

    A hunting dog portrayed in a romantic light: classically posed, alert, strong

    A hunting dog portrayed in a romantic light: classically posed, alert, strong

     

     

    And here is the reality of what happens to some galgos.  Not so painterly.

    The reality for many Galgos. Not so romantic...

    The reality for many Galgos. Not so romantic…but perhaps more honest.

    There is a gulf between how Velazquez might have portrayed these classically beautiful dogs and how they are treated now.

    I want to photograph twenty or more rescued Galgos in a way that captures BOTH their regal heritage (beautiful, strong, referencing some of the colours in the Velazquez picture) but ALSO their terrible modern condition (weak, threatened, lost).

     

    These dogs are both beautiful and bruised. How can I get that across in an image?

    It’s fairly easy to take pretty pictures but it’s harder to take pictures that show the unease of their lives whilst still respecting them as incredible creatures.

    My idea is to take more shots like this….

    a classical pose...

    a classical pose…

    …except capture something of their fragility too. Their fear, weakness, longing.

    You’ll see the colours are almost there: browns, oranges, burnt colours, but I’ve been buying more fabrics today as backdrops that I will take out that will reference classical paintings.

    This won’t please all of you because I’m not after postcard-pretty, but it will give a more powerful portrayal of the issue and therefore make stronger work.

    My photos will be on film and that needs developing so you won’t see these images for a while but I will of course give you some teasers from my digital camera.

    I’m going back to Charl in Malaga but also up to Sevilla again to another centre where they have many hundreds of abandoned Galgos:  Fundacion Benjamin Mehnert.

    I leave in a few days and I can’t wait to meet Martin the podenco and the galga.

    Thank you for your continued support and I’ll update you very soon!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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    17 Responses to “DAY 167: BACK TO SPAIN!”

    1. I’m trying to put into words how I feel about the work that you are doing for the galgos and podencos but I don’t even know where to begin.I am so grateful to you for the time, effort, money and devotion that you are giving towards fighting to end the cruelty that is inflicted on these beautiful,loving beings.Through your camera lense you are truly going to bring a lot more attention to the world about the plight of the galgos and I do believe your work will make a difference towards getting laws enacted and enforced through public pressure to end this barbaric practice.A heartfelt thankyou is nowhere near enough to let you know how much your devotion is appreciated.I look foreward to seeing your latest work;your idea of what you want to create in pictures is perfect and powerful.Thankyou so much.

    2. thank you linda, what a wonderful comment. Much appreciated. I hope I can make a small difference in highlighting the incredible work people like Charlotte are already doing. thank you

    3. I think your photos are amazing and such a good cause. I can’t wait to receive mine.

    4. I wanted to say exactly what Linda has said and cannot think of better words than hers to express how I feel. So pleased you are going back to see Charl and her hounds. I am following the care of Ebro, such a brave dog and given all the love and care from Charl I feel most people have no idea of the cruelty inflicted on these poor dogs so awareness is important. Thank you again for all you are doing to help.

    5. Thank you for the very kind words Jenny. I really look forward to seeing the dogs tomorrow!

    6. Thank you so much for helping towards awareness for the galgos and podencos. I adopted a wonderful podenca from Spain in 2005 and it is the best thing I’ve ever done. She is simply delightful. She still has a lot of things she is scared of but she is so much more confident now. It never seize to amaze me that animals that have been so mistreated still are able to trust us humans.
      I hope that you also decide to make some portraits from podencos since both the galgo and the podenco is having the same terrible fate. And please please some portraits of Martin the podenco. Last but not least, thank you for sharing your experiences during your year to help.
      Oh, I almost forgot, I was so happy to see that Martin the podenco and the galga got caught and that they are together. Sometimes life is good.

    7. yes, sometimes things turn out good! thanks for reading Nina. More updates soon

    8. Linda just put it right.
      And you DID make a BIG difference in highlighting this topic of the Galgos and Charlotte’s work.
      I am impressed to see you go back there and I hope you can make great captures.
      Please try to make a book out of this experience. I would be happy to buy a few copies of these.
      Stay strong and all the best!

    9. Beautiful words from Linda. Martin, I admire your efforts to make a difference. I sure hope the laws can be changed so these loyal dogs receive the respect, proper care, and the love that they deserve. The ‘reality’ photo at the end just breaks my heart but I so agree with you about the photos you are aiming to take. They need to show their beauty but also their plight. All the best.

    10. So glad you’ve gone back Martin 🙂 You’re doing a great job and I can’t wait to read the next few blogs.
      Keep up the brilliant work 🙂

    11. thank you Katy!

    12. I’m overjoyed to see you are returning and with your photography bringing more awareness to the desperate plight of the galgos.
      Will the newer photograghs also be available for purchase?
      Bless you and all who are doing something to help bring awareness and put an end to the cruel practices these beautiful creatures endure at the hands of man.

    13. I’m afraid I won’t be selling them on the blog as they will be limited edition and I am going to make them into a project that I hope to get into magazines and galleries. However I have promised to give what I can to the galgos cause if and when they come out in galleries and I can sell them. I normally sell my prints for a fair amount more through galleries than the pictures I am selling here on the blog. Of course if anything takes anyones fancy they can always get in touch direct!

    14. I like your photos a lot, especially one with white galgo legs (Elsa perhaps?)
      We have a white rescue galga, Selma, at home and the leg photo reminds me every time how much better it could be. Selma’s right leg has huge scars due to a wound she has got at her young age. Probably caused by a human foot with a heavy shoe or a hand with a metal bar…
      I really appreciate your effort to do good and raise awareness of the situation in Spain. Thank you Martin.

    15. thank you Anu, you are most welcome!

    16. Thank you….Martin for ALL you are doing to help to promote the plight of these magnificent animals! A+++ for your efforts and the wonderful rescuers!!!!

    17. Martin,

      I can’t believe you did go back to Spain, after all! That’s so great! And even greater that those two – the galga and the podenco (now ‘Martin’) were finally caught and are safe. Mission impossible accomplished! This is so very inspiring! My very best to you and Charlotte and everybody else who cares about these beautiful dogs.
      I so agree with your sentiment about returning to Spain: “Pretty but painful – Spain is pulling me back …” And yes: Let’s not forget the podencos …

      Erika (spreading the word …)

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