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Nice to meet you by Martin Usborne

"I remember meeting a stranger on a sunny day whilst I was suffering from depression.

‘Nice to meet you, how are you?’, said the stranger.

‘I’m fine’, I replied.

I wanted to howl."

What happens to those raw, painful parts of ourselves we hide away? The anger, confusion, uncertainty, hope? And what strategies do we use to hide these parts of ourselves? Politeness, arrogance, speed, disinterest?

Each image in this series is a portrait of a dog photographed through a material or substance: a wet pane of glass, faint smoke, dense material, bleeding light. Nearly all of the dogs are abandoned, untrained, often aggressive. One is a wolf. (Every dog was carefully handled and protected in the process). The images are titled with everyday phrases that so often hide subtexts.

As with the previous series, The Silence of Dogs in Cars, canines are used here to reflect that unspoken, instinctive side of our nature. 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.

But the series is also about the voicelessness of animals, about their hidden pains and silent needs that to many people are not so apparent.

Words and images: Courtesy of Martin Usborne