New Zealand-born, NYC-based photographer Paul Nathan shines the light on some perfectly primped canines in his new book Groomed, released this Spring by Pelluceo Publishing. Shooting at multiple high-profile grooming competitions, Nathan explores the world—and art—of dog grooming, capturing the creations of some of the world’s top dog groomers. The selection here are from what’s known as the ‘creative’ category. Humorous and delightful, Nathan’s pre-show portraits reveal character in both the artist and the canvas. He recently told us more about the world of dog grooming.
Where did you find these colorful pups?
“The images in the Creative Grooming section of Groomed were taken last April at Intergroom in New Jersey. Intergroom is one of the largest international conferences of its kind in the world with more than 2000 dog and cat groomers attending each year. This year’s Intergroom is coming up on April 5-7th, 2014.”
Do you know how long this sort of grooming takes and how the dogs react to it? Any tricks to making them stand still while getting so decked-out?
“According to groomers I have spoken to, not every dog can be part of a creative grooming competition or have these extreme color creations done to them. As with child stars, some are just born with patience and the will to please that help them deal with the long process involved in creating a creative grooming piece. In most cases the colors are done in stages on different days, usually in sessions of no more than three hours with plenty of breaks for the animal. Every dog is different and only the groomer knows how long to work with a dog. Keeping the dog happy and comfortable is key.”
Do you know what type of dye is used, or how long it lasts?
“There is a vast variety of hair coloring products for dogs. They are all non-toxic and semi-permanent. Depending on the kind of coat the dog has it can last from a few washes to a few months.”
Who are the enthusiasts/pet owners behind this?
“The enthusiasts are master dog groomers competing at grooming competitions like Intergroom. They are wholly responsible for the designs. In fact, when the dogs are presented, the groomer is often dressed to match the animal and there is a set or backdrop where the animal is presented. I simply chose my favorites to photograph.”