Hungarian House of Photography
Earlier Exhibitions


André Kertész Hall
Mai Manó Galery ("Kis Manó")


DogLife Collection of contemporary and historical photography
Opening remarks by Vilmos Csányi

Open to the public: 29. May - 30. July 2006.
Every weekdays: 14.00 – 19.00
Weekend: 11.00 – 19.00

DogLife · Introducing dogs...


Introducing dogs...

Dog owners rarely have the opportunity of introducing an exhibition of excellent snaps or carefully posed studio photographs of a whole host of dogs; the fact that a few of the dogs depicted are artificial ones, does not make it any less enjoyable.

When, in ancient times, a few hapless wolves were driven out of the pack and decided to choose a dog’s life instead of unlimited freedom, they had to try very hard to meet the requirements of the new pack. Not counting the excitement of the hunt, a wolf’s existence is quite peaceful if its stomach is full; it can lie around all day if it wants to. Being a dog is very tiring. Instead of the pack, there is a family with a father, mother and children you are not allowed to bite, though they would so often deserve it, and they constantly give you orders: sit, lie, come here, go there, bring it here, take it there, bite it, don’t bite it and so on. And you have to work. You have to guard, herd, protect, detect, call for help, guide the blind, ferret out drugs, gunpowder, stolen goods; look after epileptics, play nicely with little children, let old ladies mollycoddle you, among thousands of other tasks.

People like taking pictures and naturally, a dog has to pose beside its master. Going into an unfamiliar room full of strange objects, you are not allowed to look around or sniff, you have to stand to attention or lie down, putting on a very serious face, as if there was something important going on. And dogs do this, why not, since the beloved master is there too and is also putting on a very serious face.

Of course dogs do not just serve blindly, they usually understand what is going on. Once my son and I wanted to take a few good pictures of our dog, Tumble. We said the usual: sit, lie, don’t move you miserable thing! The camera was clicking away, when my son made an important observation. Look father! Tumble had understood that he must only move if he heard the camera click. I too watched the dog and took a long time setting the frame. Tumble stood motionless and when he heard the camera click, moved to another position. He had only taken a few minutes to grasp what we wanted of him. I thought of my father then and how much trouble he had had, poor thing when, as a child, I always moved too soon in his carefully composed pictures.

Dogs pay more attention. They have got to know humans and take part in their lives. They can work out how and why certain things happen and they are happy to help. I feel certain, just between ourselves, that most dogs imagine they are humans, with all the same obligations, rights and self-consciousness as humans.

This is why they are so watchful of everything and everyone, family members and those present; they really are our best friends. I experienced something curious a few weeks ago and if it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it. I was hanging around in our garden in Nógrád and put the meat for our supper in the oven in the late afternoon. Meanwhile I was hard at work mowing the grass. The meat was getting nice and soft, I had a look, it only needed a little more roasting. Well, I would finish the remaining bit of the lawn till it was ready. I got so involved in the mowing, of course, that I forgot about it. Jerome interrupted me and demanded with his loud barking that I go with him immediately. Oh, Jerome, leave me, I have to finish these few square meters. He wouldn’t listen. What’s the matter with this dog? It is not usually so insistent, perhaps someone has arrived and is standing at the gate which I can’t see from here? I’ll have a look. I started after the dog, but he led me not to the gate, but into the kitchen and lay down in front of the oven. The meat was just ready, nice and crisp. That’s what Jerome was trying to tell me. I must add that he was doing this for the most part completely selflessly, as he had already had his supper.

So if I am with Jerome, I am not alone. Everyone who is a little mindful of their canine companion, has similar experiences, of course, and these pictures are here to prove it.

Vilmos Csányi etiologist













photo: Róbert Kassay

Hungarian House of Photography in Mai Manó House
H-1065 Budapest-Terézváros, Nagymező utca 20.
Telephone: 473-2666
Fax: 473-2662

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