There are a lot of sad realities in life and looming large among them is the existence of stereotypes. Another reality is that they’re seldom applicable to the people, places or things saddled with them.
For example, did you know that black animals are often maligned for various reasons? Black birds (like crows) have often been associated with death or misfortune while black cats are practically synonymous with bad luck in people’s minds. The typecasting doesn’t end there as black dogs are also unfairly marginalized, perceived as everything from being a bad omen to more aggressive. Known as “Black Dog Syndrome,” this false perception can actually go so far as to make black dogs less adoptable in the shelter system.
This fact unsettled photographer Fred Levy so much that he set out to create a photo series entitled the “Black Dogs Project.” Placing black dogs against black backdrops, Levy captures the true essence of these beautiful animals in an effort to show anyone who would doubt it, that they’re just like every other dog. Sweet, loyal, friendly and endearing.
“A dog shouldn’t be overlooked just because of its coat,” Levy said. “That’s a minor element when it comes to the dog.” The photography goes on to explain that, his work isn’t intended to have people go forth and solely adopt black dogs now over those of different colors. “I want people to make informed decisions on the best dog that will fit into their lifestyle,” he said. “The fur shouldn’t be the deciding factor.”
The photos became an instant hit, so much so that Levy has compiled them into an upcoming book titled, “Black Dogs Project: Extraordinary Black Dogs and Why We Can’t Forget Them.” A portion of all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Labradors and Friends as well as help people to see beyond the coat to the dog within. Now, that’s a lesson we can apply to every species.
All image source: Fred Levy