For decades, pit bulls have been demonized by society and portrayed as hellhounds. They’ve become the most feared, hated, and abused of all companion animals.
The media reports of vicious attacks along with government bans on keeping a pit bull has doomed the fate of millions of abandoned dogs around the world languishing in shelters where most must be euthanized. In America alone, hundreds of thousands of pit bulls are euthanized every year.
Pit bull owners themselves encounter discrimination struggling to find apartments and renters insurance companies that will welcome and accept their beloved dog companion.
Sophie Gamand has been photographing adoptable pit bulls for free around the US since 2014. Too many of these dogs have been waiting for homes for years. By adorning her models with handmade flower crowns, Gamand celebrates their inherent personality, vulnerability, and individuality.
Posted and shared widely on social media, the portraits and their accompanying stories–at once charming, candid, and deeply affecting–have not only led to hundreds of dogs finding loving homes, but the images have also spurred efforts to de-stigmatize an animal whose reputation for violence says more about people than the true character and behavior of the dogs themselves.
Sophie Gamand is a French award-winning photographer and animal advocate living and working in New York. Since 2010, she has been focusing on dogs and our relationship with them, particularly shelter dogs. By donating her time and (a little flower power) to animal shelters, Gamand has helped hundreds of dogs find a new home through her popular Instagram.
Traveling between fine art and documentary, Gamand’s work is mostly photography-based but her recent exhibits have included video, sculpture, installation, Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Gamand is the author of Wet Dog (New York City: Grand Central Publishing, 2015) and Pit Bull Flower Power (New York City: Lantern Books, 2018). She has received multiple awards for her work in photography and her advocacy including a Sony World Photography Award (2014) and has exhibited her work worldwide.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.