The authors of the coffee table photo book of 100 dogs call it an homage to all of the dogs we’ve chosen to share our lives with.
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NEWMARKET, N.H. — During the COVID-19 pandemic, some 23 million American households decided to take in a pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A husband and wife photographer team were among the millions to bring home a new dog, a rescue they named Ducky. Through their bonding with their new pup, and meeting other dogs and owners through adventures with him, they realized they had an idea for a photo book all about “The Best Dog.”
In the studio of Aliza Eliazarov and Edward Doty, Ducky poses for photos. He’s about as professional as a dog can be at posing, but even for two professional photographers, it’s not an easy photoshoot.
Eliazarov has a lot of background in this, having worked as the lead photographer for BarkBox, and having pieced together another educational photobook with Doty, “On the Farm.”
“In photography, the goal is always for the viewer to connect with my subject,” Eliazarov told NEWS CENTER Maine.
The idea for their latest book, she said, came from the idea that so many had taken in dogs during the pandemic. Why not pay homage to those new family members, and remind readers how special each dog is?
“The Best Dog” features 100 different subjects, all with fascinating stories, all living very different lives with their owners.
“We put calls out on our community Facebook page and got a tremendous response,” Eliazarov said. “We knew we wanted a hero dog, so we researched different stories that we found in the news to find a really great hero dog story. We wanted service dogs and we wanted therapy dogs, and we wanted differently-abled dogs.”
Some of the dogs in the book are blind, some had rough backgrounds before finding happiness in their forever homes. Some of the dogs live a life of service, and at least one is a team mascot.
“Anyone we spoke to about the project would say, ‘You have to photograph my dog. I have the best dog,’ and that’s how the book got its name,” Eliazarov explained.
It took a few years for the book to come together, with photoshoots from Maine to New York. And if you’re thinking, they’re professionals, of course they can easily photograph dogs, it’s never that easy.
“There’s a lot of running around,” Doty explained with a smile. “There’s a lot of squeaking, and yelping, and treat throwing, and just kind of waiting to find that moment where it all comes together.”
Sometimes the moments don’t come together at all, other times—along with the owner’s help—the moments are magical.
“I want people to read this book and feel a connection to dogs,” Eliazarov said with a smile. “I want them to read this book and maybe look over at their own dog and just remember how great they are if for some reason they have forgotten or haven’t told their own dog that they’re the best dog in the past 15 minutes.”
Aliza Eliazarov and Edward Doty are hosting a book signing at Print: A Bookstore in Portland this Saturday from 1-2 p.m. They’ll also be offering pet portraits to those who purchase the book.
You can learn more about the book here.
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