America euthanizes upward of 1,000,000 pit bulls every year. It’s a quiet massacre. Pit bulls make people uncomfortable. The country is faced with a major pit bull crisis. Around the world, pit bulls are equally victims of prejudices that associate them with ultra-violence and make them disposable dogs. Through the series called Flower Power: Pit Bulls of the Revolution, Sophie Gamand, a U.S.-based French photographer, decided to photograph them with flower crowns, to infuse a softer energy into their imagery.
She wishes for this series to challenge the way people look at pit bulls, and ultimately the way we treat them. All the models from the series are shelter pit bulls who were waiting for adoption at the time of the photograph. Many of them still are. She has photographed about 150 dogs since the project started in the summer 2014. The series is inspired by Baroque and Rococo’s aesthetics, using the traditional codes of portraiture.
The flowers symbolizes the ephemeral quality of life, reminding us that these creatures are fragile and precious. Pit bull-type dogs are like any other dogs: they need proper care, training and socialization. Unfortunately, because of their bad image, they have the false reputation of being more dangerous than other dogs, hence attracting irresponsible primary owners who are looking for a “scary dog”. Pit bulls’ downfall is to be exactly the way we created them: strong and loyal. With this series, I wonder if art is a tool powerful enough it can change pit bulls’ fate.