Martin Usborne lives in central London where he has his photographic studio. He started his photographic career after a number of years working as a creative director in children’s TV. Before that he studied psychology at Edinburgh University and then animation at Glasgow School of Art.
Of this work, MUTE: the silence of dogs in cars’, he writes, ‘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 Tesco’s, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don’t matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. It seems trivial now but 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 remember watching TV and seeing 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. It’s muteness terrified me. 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. Perhaps this is a fear we all share at some level, I am not sure. The images in this series explore that feeling, both in relation to myself and to animals in general.
‘When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. 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’.