merican photographer Andrew Fladeboe with dog Ned, on Jack
and Claire Davis' farm in Lowburn. Fladeboe is travelling
New Zealand on a Fulbright grant photographing working
Man's best friend is in the spotlight, or, more
correctly, the camera flash, in this case.
Working dogs across the country will be models for American
photographer Andrew Fladeboe this year, as he travels on a
Fulbright grant to document man's best friend and working
Fladeboe, who is based at the University of Canterbury in
Christchurch, started his trip in Lowburn, near Cromwell.
Originally intending to focus on the South Island, he had
made contacts in the North Island, and was considering
working there also, Fladeboe said.
His interest in photographing working dogs stemmed from their
having been used by man for so long, and their status as the
''original'' dogs before much breeding for physical
''New Zealand made the perfect sense for a place to go
because they [working dogs] have been very important in New
Zealand history,'' Fladeboe said.
''I think New Zealand has possibly the highest number of
working dogs per head of population [of any country in the
world]. The US has working dogs but they are not as ingrained
in society as much as in New Zealand.''
Another factor was the beauty of New Zealand scenery, which
lent itself to ''images of dogs in front of sublime
backgrounds''. Fladeboe, who graduated with a bachelor of
fine arts from Rhode Island School of Design in the United
States, said one of his motivating factors in photographing
dogs was his dislike of elitist art.
Jack Davis' working dog, Ned, puts on a show for
photographer Andrew Fladeboe in the hills near Lowburn.
Photo by Andrew Fladebow.
He wanted to create art which told stories and could be
related to by people, but first and foremost it had to be
pleasant to look at.
Once his trip comes to an end, he will present his work to a
congregation at the Fulbright office, and he hoped he would
be able to showcase it in New Zealand afterwards.
''I think I will do a book and then a selection of 20 images
for a show,'' he said.
He hoped his work would be made available in New Zealand, but
that would depend on which publisher he secured.
Over the coming year, he intends to visit dog trialling
events, farms and stations in order to find dogs to
photograph. If any farmers, particularly those with
high-country stations, had active working dogs, and would be
willing to have them photographed for the project, he would
like to hear from them, Fladeboe said.
So far he had been staying with Jack and Claire Davis on
their farm at Lowburn, experiencing farming in Central Otago.
During his stay he would be updating a blog:
Theshepherdsrealm.com'', where he would post his experiences
and pictures. He can be contacted on 021-205-3911.
- Leith Huffadine.