Express Yourself (3)

Express yourself (3)

Hello wolf shadow friends. Here is part 3 of my series that focuses on facial and bodily expressions of dogs and cats at play or in everyday life. The action shots you see of WolfCub are all from the archive. He is past performing these kind of antics, even if he were not recovering from injury. One of my favourites images is Archie the Italian Greyhound down at shot number 12. His smile just cracks me up! This was taken with my iPhone while we were out walking one day. Of course I gave him a treat straight afterwards. I do like the cat shots too – sometimes they are so inscrutable, but their body language is no less engaging than the dogs.If you missed the two previous posts you can find them here and here. I hope you enjoy these – share with me your favourite image will you?  

Dog leaping in the air

Staffie dog emerging from water with a stick

British Shorthair cat with an imposing stance

Dog chasing a ball at the beach

Flying dog with funny expression

Staffie dog with funny expression

Dogs at play

Belgian Shepherd with ferocious expression catching a ball

Dog with toy in mouth

Abyssinian cat with outstretched neck

Black cat sitting in front of window

Smiling Italian Greyhound

Belgian Shepherd shaking off water


Express yourself

Express yourself

It has always amused and amazed me to see how many expressions cross our dogs faces in the blink of an eye or that which is expressed via their bodies. Too quick actually for us to perceive most of the time, but thanks to the camera, we can freeze these moments. Many times after a shoot, as I am downloading the images to my computer, I burst into laughter as the looks on WolfCub’s face are revealed to me. These expressions can range from the obvious happiness he is feeling in a particular moment to the downright deranged or demented! Dogs certainly don’t do things by halves – I love how they fully commit themselves bodily to the task at hand. They do not care about making fools of themselves, in fact, they seem to revel in it – I am sure this is one reason why we love them so much. The sheer exuberance and energy they display  through facial or body language lifts our spirits and I believe, takes us back to a time of innocent childhood play – something we tend to lose touch with in later life, but through our companionship and play with dogs, we are given an opportunity to explore that feeling once again. Please let me know, which is your favourite image?

Dog in water with ball in mouth

WolfCub jumping at the beach

Dog shaking off water

Dog dressed as Little Red Riding Hood

Dog playing tug of war

Dog happily running with front paws raised

Dog with ball in mouth

Dog with funny expression on face

Dog with mouth open to catch ball

Funny expression on dog's face

Singing dog

Dog running joyfully

Tail shot of dog splashing in water


Side by side

Side by side

I have always been fascinated by profile shots of animals. Whether they be cats or dogs, or horses, this type of portrait photography has always captured my attention. The profile shot lends itself to a different kind of contemplation. There is no returned gaze – instead we are able to focus on the contours of the animal, the shape of the nose and the head, the expressions on their faces, all of which reveal a story, a history of each animal or breed. We are often able to tell the breed of a dog especially, by its silhouetted form. The structure of the face, neck and nose in their myriad differences (or similarities) becomes more apparent when we see a series of images side by side. Human intervention is fully on display here: the preferences that were selected prior to and after, in conforming to breed standards set by Kennel Clubs, and their evolution over time. The dark side to this evolution are those breeds whose form has been pushed so far as to cause all sorts of health or temperament problems: where appearance is preferred over the health and wellbeing of these animals. If we truly value relationships with our canine and feline companions, we will stand with them, side by side, and treat with them on every level, with the respect and love they deserve. After all, isn’t this the gift their companionship has given us?

Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

Mixed breed dog

Tabby cat


Tri colour Rough Collie

Belgian Shepherd X

Belgian Tervuren

Abyssinian cat

Italian Greyhound

Tabby cat

Belgian Laekenois

Boston Terrier


Airedale Terrier


Less is more

Less is more

I began this series of half face portraits back in 2010, with my own dog WolfCub, a Belgian Shepherd.  Entitled Mr Wolf (Cub), the first image you see, on a bold red background, with his ‘wolfish’ smile, immediately creates associations with the folk tale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Emotional responses to this image from viewers have ranged from humorous, and powerful, to a feeling of threat. The half face portrait is immediately interesting because of it’s focus on the eye, by what is revealed and concealed. It creates a different mood. In a way, less is more – the gaze more direct, confronting. What were these animals feeling? What are the stories behind their expressions? What of our own contexts do we project on to them? Image number 7 shows a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback X, shortly before her death. Of course sharing that information changes how we look at her. With their direct eye contact, the dogs and cats portrayed here show a range of moods and expressions. And in gazing so intently back at the viewer, it seems a question about the nature of the relationship between human and animal is also being asked of us.


Elle the Belgian Shepherd


Bull Arab X


Charlie the Standard Poodle


Kenny the British Shorthair

Henry the Cocker Spaniel

WolfCub with pink tongue

Bella the Aussie Shepherd

Mastiff dog

Guido the Australian Cattle Dog


Archie the Italian Greyhound