Photographer Serena Hodson takes beautiful colour photographs of man’s best friend … but her furry subjects are all upside down. Today, she tells us how she came up with the inspiration for her gorgeous new book ‘Upside Down Dogs‘.
“When I first got involved in photography, I saw it as a hobby – a way for me to record those magical moments that happen in an animal’s everyday life. At the time I was living with Rocco, my bullmastiff and my sister’s dachshund, Ralph. Their relationship was my inspiration and what I managed to capture drove me to take my photography seriously. I’ve always been an animal lover, but I never knew that passion would lead to my life’s purpose – photography. This creative outlet allows me to capture the joy dogs bring to my life and then share that with the world.
I believe every animal has a secret life – a unique personality that few people get to witness – that’s why I get so much satisfaction from capturing each individual animal’s expression. My aim is to capture that unique personality and humour that animals can bring into our lives. I believe a home isn’t complete without a companion animal.
Upside Down Dogs began with a simple idea – to capture the delight and joy of dogs in an upside down pose. The way dog’s lips and wrinkles drop towards gravity almost gives this impression they are smiling and their facial expressions offer an antidote to human stress.
My two bulldogs Simon and Garfunkel make me laugh every day – they bring an optimistic and fun-loving perspective to my day. A ride in the car is like a rollercoaster ride, a bowl of kibble is a delicious 5-star meal and rolling around on their backs is heaven on earth for them. This is where I saw my first glimpse of ‘Upside Down Dog’ captured in that unique moment of upside-down-bliss. Though this angle on dogs is original in publishing I think it’s familiar to anyone who lives with a dog.
Luckily my four-legged models are photogenic from any angle, especially when they are relaxed and happy with their place in the world (ie. on a bed). I wanted to photograph different breeds to allow a broad range of subjects to be captured for maximum audience appeal. Not every dog was comfortable to lie on their backs straight away while a complete stranger pointed an unusual object at them. Some took more time and calm energy to relax – others were not so shy and flopped like a sack of potatoes. The book was incredibly fun to make and I loved every minute from the more challenging subjects to manoeuvring enormous drooling Mastiffs on and off their backs. It was such a privilege to meet so many wonderful dogs and their humans.
I hope this book goes to the heart of why humans and dogs have such a wonderful symbiotic relationship and people visually enjoy as much as I did photographing it. I think we need dogs to help us find joy in everyday pleasures, and our dogs need us to make the bed so they can jump up and roll around.”