Review of Catherine Ledner’s Glamour Dogs

Catherine Ledner’s Glamour Dogs (below) was among the batpig’s French Bulldog Book Picks from yesterday, and so we were enthused to find this well-written review of the book from photobook expert Douglas Stockdale:

Glamour Dogs Cover French Bulldog

Catherine Ledner Glamour Dogs 2009 courtesy Chronicle Books

I had been anticipating Catherine Ledner’s latest photobook Glamour Dogs after having a glimpse of her earlier exhibition photographs of wild animals. For this photobook, Glamour Dogs, her subject is a large group of dog breeds using a similar stylistic portrait formula as her earlier wild animal photographs.

Ledner’s canine subjects are being provided with either a unique posing device or they occupy a central place on the floor. Each dog is framed by a unique wall paper that has been paired with the animal to complement some aspect of her subject. The lighting, focus and use of color are all provide with a similar treatment for each photograph. Her subjects are usually centered in the frame, with some of the dogs providing direct eye contact with the lens, others focused just off-center or preoccupied with something else, perhaps the animal’s trainer or owner.

What I found interesting in Ledner’s earlier photographs was the odd mix of a wild animal in a very domestic appearing context, appearing to pose inside of a home, as symbolized by an interesting background wall paper motif. The feeling of strangeness is very much missing in these photographs, as these beautifully manicured dogs look everything like a pet that would be pampered in these domesticated settings.

Ledner does have a sly sense of humor in some of her selections of props and posing of the dogs, just enough to be a wink and a node, without an over the top and in your face slapstick visual pun. Although there are no puppies hanging by their paws on a clothes line, she does come close.

It appears to me that Ledner has found a formula that is developing into a nice commercial niche and a trademark style but regretfully at the expense of becoming slick and repetitious boring. In an attempt to be open-minded and provide a contrarian viewpoint; the art world has been replete with artists who once found something of a narrow interest, (e.g. repetitively painting the same tea-pot) that they continued to work it almost seemly to death. I just do not sense that type of creative investigation in this body of work

This photobook will appeal to the canine aficionados who will take delight in the varied character studies.

via Catherine Ledner – Glamour Dogs « The PhotoBook.

About Douglas Stockdale

I write reviews of photographic books that are available for further discussion. The photobooks that are of interest to me investigate a broad range of photographic projects, series and monographs. I will occasionally provide news about photographic book publishing and photobook events. My book reviews are provided on a totally random frequency.

For comments, questions and book review submission inquiries, I can be reached at doug@douglasstockdale.com

My book, Ciociaria, is a hardcover photobook published by Edizioni Punctum (Rome, Italy) and will be launched at FotoGrafia Festival Internazionale di Roma in the late September of 2011. The book features 50 color photographs that investigate a central region of Italy that has neither a defined region or known history. The essay by Marco Delogu, artistic director of FotoGrafia and publisher of Edizioni Punctum, is provided in both English and Italian text.

Other photobook projects that are in process and I blog about on Singular Images are In Passing (self published book dummy & portfolio featured in LensWork #74), Insomnia: Hotel Noir (self published book dummy book, Blurb), and Flow of Light Brush the Shadows. Currently available on Blurb: Sharpening Photographs for Print on Demand Publishing (self published).

As to other venues;

I write about my personal photographic projects on Singular Images www.singularimages.wordpress.com

Additional photo project links can be found here and Milan Fashion Week is my experimental version of a book on the web.

         Milan Fashion Week www.milanfashionweek.wordpress.com

         Insomnia: Hotel Noir www.insomniahotelnoir.wordpress.com

My website is located here: www.douglasstockdale.com

Best regards, Doug

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