Given that the dog-to-human ratio in Homer has got to be above the national average, it was just a matter of time before an artist accepted the canine prompt.
For Karen Roush, a local dog enthusiast and photographer, the Fido photos go far beyond lolling tongues and wagging tails. Roush looks for that photo that captures the canine's soul.
"Making photographs is often like a dance," Roush wrote in her artist's statement. "Sometimes I dance badly and the world falls apart at my feet. Occasionally, the dance goes well, and my subject and I move together with a shared purpose and magic happens."
Roush's photos, some of which are digitally altered, are on display this month at the Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery. The show includes more than a dozen images of canines in every element of life, from lounging on a couch to raising trouble in the back of a rusty Nissan.
"I follow a dog down the beach and enter his world," Roush said. "The journey is an intuitive exploration into the possibility of a commonality of spirit and a shared vision of the world."
Roush speculates that if dogs are said to have an "informed consciousness" and an emotional life, than it is possible they also have a spiritual life.
"At times, I feel a sentient power and spiritual presence in the dogs I photograph," Roush said.
Seriousness aside, however, the exhibit, titled "Dogs, and what they do," contains many humorous and character-exposing images of dogs, some of which have been altered using computerized filters to make them resemble a painting.
There's a series of "Dogz of the Hood" pictures, featuring three cocker spaniels dressed in hooded jackets sitting on a well-worn set of stairs. There's a family of whippets chewing on each other, and a Great Dane who takes up the better part of a leather couch.
"I have always loved and admired dogs for their dogginess, because they are dogs. I never see them as little furry people. They are nothing like people, they are like dogs, a nicer species. I love watching them, knowing them. I wish I were more like a dog. Perhaps I was a dog in another life," Roush said.
"Dogs and what they do" will be on display through Feb. 5 at Ptarmigan Arts.
Carey James is a reporter for the Homer News.
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