Prophecy (2014)

Prophecy is a series exploring the unique beauty of hairless dogs who are often mocked or called "ugly". This is an "old wise man" kind of beauty, which I embraced, photographing my models as if they were philosophers, shamans from a different era, maybe a different universe, prophets or mad scientists, grabbing us and planting their eyes deep into ours, shaking us and shouting, as Philippulus the Prophet in The Adventures of Tintin would: "The judgment is upon you! The end is near!". Nature looking straight at us and begging us to repent.

The series focuses on two major hairless breeds: the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli (or Mexican hairless dog), and mixed hairless dogs. Both breeds share similar mysteries around their origins, but if Xolos seem to have evolved into hairless creatures naturally, it is commonly accepted that Chinese Crested were bred and genetically manipulated to look the way they look today. Interestingly, both breeds show dramatically opposed personalities: Chinese Crested often seem more subdued and shy, skittish even, possibly reflecting their longtime ties with humans, whereas Xolos who are considered a primitive breed and highly connected to their natural instincts, are strongly independent, prey-driven dogs with very affirmed personalities.

At the center of my photographic exploration is the idea that dogs have been engineered by men. Through artificial selection, for the past millennia, they have been selected, modified, breeds have been created, shaped and trained to fulfill our needs. Whether it is to perform tasks for us or simply for companionship, humans have subdued an entire specie for their own needs, alleviating their deep sense of solitude. In a way, dogs are the first example – and most striking one – of Man acting like a god towards Nature.

For this project I approached private breeders as well as rescue organizations specializing in hairless dogs (such as Bald is Beautiful and Bare Paws Rescue). Tor learn more about the Xoloitzcuintli, visit the Xolo Club of America's website.