Ines Opifanti is a photographer from Hamburg, Germany. For this series, she photographed dog owners who mimic their dogs’ facial expressions. Almost 3 years ago she adopted a puppy out of the blue and quickly noticed her amazing ability to pull off almost human-like facial expressions.
But, what about the other way round? How easily can humans “read” our dogs’ facial expressions? She was very curious and posted a request for volunteers in a local, dog-centered Facebook group. She made appointments with over 30 mostly total strangers and their dogs.
She photographed the dogs first, letting them sit on a small podium. Owners had to interact with them, telling them phrases they know the dogs will react to. Of course they got lots and lots of praise and treats so they quickly stopped caring about the lights or the camera. “It was important that dogs stayed calm and relaxed, so they could show their natural behavior and weren’t frightened,” she said. After the dogs were photographed, the owners had to interpret and mimic. Ines noticed that dog people get really good at interpreting their own dogs. “It’s really a fascinating thing because we’re two completely different species after all,” she said.