Monday, October 19, 2015

THE DOGIST :: Elias Weiss Friedman

When Elias Friedman was laid off from his job at a major New York agency, he decided to become more entrepreneurial. After some work on a startup that was ultimately sold, he decided to combine the two things he loves most: photography and dogs. The result was a 2013 Instagram feed (@TheDogist) that took off across most social media platforms (1.2 million followers on Instagram; same Twitter handle and Facebook page name). His work has now been compiled into a fantastic hardbound collection entitled The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs.

I came across The Dogist on Twitter and was captivated. As a fellow lifelong lover of dogs and photography, this work captures two things I hold dear, and does it quite well. Elias’ work is brilliantly expressive; it’s mostly close-up work on the streets of New York and truly captures the many different personalities and essences of “dog.”

The photos generally include the dog's name (which is something I always love to know), breed, and age. Sometimes, if the dog does something interesting or the owner starts talking with Friedman, we also get a little fact about the dog. The international posts (Friedman doesn't stop working when he travels) are especially fun, treating those of us here in the U.S. to breeds (and names) we don't see as often or at all.

As Friedman once said in an interview, "Every dog deserves recognition." I believe he practices what he preaches, as the spectrum of unique is fully explored in both Friedman's work and the book. The collection is put together in entertaining categories too numerous to recount here, but includes: heavyweights, barkers, sassy, haircuts, head tilts, rare breeds, snow, bionic, tongues, beautiful blends, cones of shame—you get the picture.

There’s something for everyone and I guarantee you’ll see at least one thing you’ve never seen before. Elias has been doing the work long and steadily enough that there is no shortage of material to work with, and each page is a lesson in the beautiful and unique qualities of human’s best friend.

Elias also created the Give a Dog a Bone program, featuring stories of shelter dogs (more than 50 in 20 different shelters), most of which have since found homes. Says Friedman, "I visit shelters and photograph adoptable dogs to be featured on the site. From there people from my audience will sponsor the dogs. It gives these dogs more exposure than they would otherwise have and helps tell an important piece of the story."

The Dogist is highly recommended for photographers and dog admirers alike, and would be a super Christmas present for the dog lover in your life.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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