Continuing from his body of work The Silence of Dogs in Cars, English photographer Martin Usborne has now made a series from dogs photographed through a material or substance: a wet pane of glass, faint smoke, dense material, bleeding light. In his quest to find answers about what happens to the raw, painful parts of ourselves, and look at the strategies that we use to hide them away, in Nice To Meet You, Usborne sublimates his quest for understanding of people into the dogs that he portrays. The project evolved while Usborne was suffering from depression, and was triggered by the meeting of a stranger on a sunny day. He noticed that we use politeness, speed and disinterest in order to hide anger, confusion, uncertainty and hope.
"In my own experience it is dogs – along with some other animals – that have the ability to communicate certain feelings most directly even though they have no words", Usborne says in his project statement.
In this series, canines are used to reflect that unspoken, instinctive side of our nature. Nearly all of the dogs shown are abandoned, untrained, often aggressive. One is a wolf. But the series is also about the voicelessness of animals, about their hidden pains and silent needs.
To learn more about The Silence of Dogs in Cars, read our book review.