“I was once left in a car at a young age. I don’t know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don’t matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. The fear I felt was strong: in a child’s mind it is possible to be alone forever. Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals – in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I saw a TV documentary that included footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back. I should say that I was a well-loved child and never abandoned and yet it is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard. When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. In a sense, I was attempting to go back inside my car, to re-experience what I couldn’t bear as a child. What I didn’t expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside. There is life in the darkest places inside us.”—Martin Usborne
Martin Usborne’s key interest is man’s relationship to (other) animals. Although his imagery is sometimes dark – capturing the way in which we silence, control or distance ourselves from other animals – his pictures strive for a subtle humour. Martin often undertakes editorial or commercial commissions and his work is regularly featured in international magazines and has been seen in group and solo shows around the world as well as in the National Portrait Gallery London. He has had four books published. Martin lives and works in London. He studied philosophy and psychology and then 3D animation before finally settling on photography. He is currently spending a year to see how many animals he can save in 365 days.
More about Martin Usborne and his photographs here.