Earl Bane Gallery

The Nature of Dogs
Photographs by Mary Ludington
November 3, 2012 – January 6, 2013

In The Nature of Dogs exhibit and recently published book (Simon & Schuster, 2007), Mary Ludington seeks to capture the true nature of dogs - their beauty, character, and spirit. Any dog owner will tell you that there is a profound and mysterious connection between humans and theirs dogs. Our regard for these creatures undeniably runs deeper than mere gratitude for companionship: we respect the unknowable aspect of their nature and understand that at least a part of their true spirit resides outside the human sphere. Though they hunger for our affection, our pets are often most themselves in their natural habitat.

The sensitive photographs in The Nature of Dogs exhibit reflect this understanding, capturing the particular personalities of sixty-two different breeds, from the handsome and feisty Irish Terrier to the exuberant and handy Labrador Retriever; from the sleek, high-stepping Italian Greyhound to the snub-nosed, princely Pug, Ludington has her subjects roam outdoors, observing quietly and letting the dogs dictate her shots. The striking body of work that results from this natural approach offers us a glimpse of the dogs in their element - whether caught midstride or in an hour of well-earned repose.

Ludington states that “Dogs are so diverse and some are so extreme. As an artist and dog lover, I find I am most interested in why they look the way they look. All of what we see in a dog, all of that beautiful form - the different ears, tails, coat length and texture, head shapes, body shapes - have a functional purpose. I find that to be so extraordinary - and artful.” When researching the breeds, Ludington looked first for the best examples of “form following function” and also for how history, geography, or politics impacted the development of a breed. Her personal belief is that even if we don’t know this information about our dogs, it subconsciously affects how and why we are drawn to the dogs we love - and why we love all dogs.

Shooting in natural environments, with dogs moving freely, Ludington doesn’t direct the dogs but rather observes them with the camera. Then in the darkroom, with infinite choices about negative selection, exposure, paper tone and texture, she works to discover and translate the essence of the dog in the photographic print.

Mary Ludington specializes in fine art animal photography through commissioned portraiture and personal work. She has received numerous awards; her photographs are exhibited nationally and are collected throughout the world. She participates in dog conformation, field trial and earth dog sports and devotes time to dog and horse rescue efforts. Her websites are www.maryludington.com and www.thenatureofdogs.com.

The showing here in the Earl Bane Gallery at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure is part of a ten city national tour over a two-and-a-half- year period containing sixty framed photographs from Mary Ludington. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Courtesy of Mary Ludington
Tour Development by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, Kansas City, Missouri
Rolling Hills Museum
Rolling Hills Animals
ADM Theater
Elephant Trunk
Hide Hollow

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