Blogdogs: William Wegman

William Wegman was born in 1943, a litter of one. He was paper-trained, and then went to grade school, high school and college. He started out as a painter but had trouble getting the hands right, so he did what most painters who couldn't get hands right did, he switched to photography.
After taking pictures of his Mom and his Dad, he ran out of willing subjects and was soon forcing dogs to wear clothes and stand in embarrassing poses in order to practice his trade.
During the culture wars of the late '80s, many dogs attacked Wegman's work as being exploitive, accusations they supported by pointing out that he often named his dogs after French surrealists. It was said that Wegman dogopomorphized his subjects, but by the mid-90s his detracters had been marginalized and he was a main stream popular success, with his work exhibited in the Smithsonian and sold in airport gift shops.
Some critics have noted that over time he worked with younger and younger dogs until his work verged on what has sometimes been referred to as puppy porno. In fact, it has been suggested that Wegman began doing polaroid photos precisely because photo-marts began confiscating his film and turning it over to authorities when they saw the images.
More recently K9 academics have come to understand that Wegman is not, as previously believed, infantilizing dogs, but rather, he has been trying to suggest, in his abstract way, that humans might, if they try, aspire to a higher, dog-like nature.
So to honor the genius of William Wegman, we offer the following portfolio of some of his works. Not only can you experience the brilliance of the artist, but you can actually own a print of one these masterpieces, and help support Blogdogs at the same time, since we get a tiny cut of the action, if you know what I mean.

No comments: