William Wegman: Being Human

Chronicle. Oct. 2017. 352p. ed. by William A. Ewing. photos. index. ISBN 9781452164991. pap. $24.95. PHOTOG
Since the 1970s, Wegman has been making photographic collaborations with generations of his beloved Weimaraners. His dog photos have been published in many forms—more than 60 published books, calendars, notecards, etc.—but this newest publication serves as a retrospective, and features rare, previously unpublished images, along with more than 300 iconic photographs of the artist's famous dogs. Loosely organized by theme ("Nudes," "Tales," "Disguise," etc.), rather than by chronology, the book's title alludes to Wegman's tendency to humanize his dogs by using clothing and props, as he captures their light eyes staring into the camera lens. His images—part performance, part photography—were shot with a large-scale Polaroid, a rare approach indeed in the digital age. Editor Ewing contributes a playful introduction that sets the overall tone. The small format suggests a handheld, intimate feel; a thoughtful conversation with Wegman himself features behind-the-scene stories about several of his now-famous images.
VERDICT Recommended for both dog and photography enthusiasts.

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