Since 2013, Elias Weiss Friedman has been snapping pictures of dogs for his Instagram, The Dogist. The popular account puts a canine-focused spin on fashion blogs like The Sartorialist by documenting dogs on the street. Friedman travels around New York and other international cities snapping pictures of dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds. It's not unlike Humans of New York, except the dogs, of course, don't tell their stories with words. Instead, viewers have to make do with a name, breed, age, and the occasional quote from the owner as context. The rest is up to the imagination.
With over 3000 posts and 1.3 million followers, the next logical step for The Dogist was its own book. Available for order starting today, the coffee table tome is packed with over 1000 photos of charismatic dogs, divided into categories based on breed, age, or outfit (yes, there's an entire section dedicated to dogs in raincoats).
Friedman first began The Dogist after being laid off from his branding company. Reluctant to enter another office job, he turned to photography. After moving from Philadelphia, where he was surrounded by dogs, to New York, where he had to make do without a furry companion, Friedman decided to combine his two loves, and began documenting the pooches he met on the street—thus, vicariously getting his dog fix for the day.
One thing that makes The Dogist stand out among other dog-centered Instagram accounts is how each dog is so obediently posed. As you can imagine, this is no easy feat. To get the dogs photo-ready, Friedman carries around a special kit of toys and treats in order to grab his subjects' attention.
"My photos at the beginning of the series were a lot worse than they are now," Friedman told The Huffington Post. "It's hard to get humans to look normal and not pose. Whereas with a dog, every photo is 'normal.' The question is, how do you get them to seem posed? It's kind of the opposite challenge."
Unsurprisingly, each photo is just a fleeting moment. The dog photographer has to move quickly to get his shots. On top of using a fast DSLR camera, Friedman also swears by comfortable shoes and kneepads to help him quickly crouch low to get the right angle.
In the future, The Dogist plans to expand its scope. "I’m very interested in photographing more 'working' dogs, since the majority of the dogs I encounter while walking are household pets," Friedman said in a press release. "I would love to set up shoots with hunting dogs, police and army dogs, and various organizations that train dogs to do specific jobs. These special photo series give people a fascinating look at what dogs are capable of."
To get your hands on some amazing dog photography (including some shots not shared on Instagram), purchase The Dogist at Barnes and Noble.
Excerpted from The Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by The Dogist, LLC.