Most of the books that I have worked on have been narrative non-fiction. I’m starting to do more work with fiction now and it is a lot of fun. One genre I never really expected to be representing is photography books. But I have said many times before that my life as an agent is full of surprises.
This week, Bloomsbury USA published Dogs Make Us Human: A Global Family Album with text by Jeffrey Masson and photographs by Art Wolfe. It is a gorgeous photographic book filled with pictures of dogs and their human companions in work and play throughout the world. We wanted to avoid the usually cutesy-wutsy doggie pictures. There are enough of those kinds of books already. So we used as our inspiration the classic and enduring photographic book, The Family of Man by Edward Steichen. We wanted to do a kind of “family of man and dog”. After all, Jeff Masson has been saying for years that the bond between dogs and humans is unique, the only love bond that is truly cross-species. And it appears to be a bond that is universal to the human experience worldwide.
Art Wolfe is one of the world’s great wildlife photographers. He has worked on every continent. He has done numerous spreads in National Geographic. He has been photographing dogs for years and his work has finally found a home in this book. You see dogs with Asian boat people, dogs with children in African villages, dogs herding sheep in New Zealand. Oh, and my favorite. A stone age Yanomami warrior and his dog, both dressed up in war paint.
There were some challenges in putting together this project. Art’s agent and my friend, Peter Beren, approached me about doing this book and having my client, Jeffrey Masson, write the text. Some of the challenges were geographic. Jeff lives in Auckland New Zealand. Art lives in Seattle but is usually on shoots in places inaccessible. Most of the time that we were putting this deal together, Art was in Antarctica. (Probably not photographing dogs down there, though.) Nancy Miller of Bloomsbury, who is one of my favorite editors, fell in love with the idea. Bloomsbury did a magnificent production job. They made the book a lead title for the Christmas season and graced the cover of their catalogue with Art’s images.
Here is a great slide show of some of Art’s pictures with commentary by Jeff and Art.