it is ok friend
i know you aren’t feeling so great right now friend
but just know that you are great
and that i am here for you
and you deserve happiness
and things will get better
i promise you that friend
"Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution" is a series dedicated to the dogs grouped under the name of pit bulls. I wished to portray this misunderstood group in a different light. The general public and news media consider a "pit bull" a dog that belongs to one of the following breeds, or simply looks like one: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier, or any mix. To put it in a nutshell, most "Pit bulls" are judged based on certain physical characteristics. Moreover, if they physically look like they belong to that group, they will be deemed dangerous by many, with no regard to their individual temperament.
This project started as an excuse for me to discover more about pit bulls, and to see for myself what the debate was about. Were they really all crazy and dangerous? Or were most of them simply the victims of a generalization? Like many people, I admittedly had prejudices against them. But as an active volunteer with many rescue groups, I often came in contact with pit bulls and was slowly warming up to their sweet nature. I decided to confront my apprehensions and explore their soft side in a visual way.
I realized pit bulls were always portrayed in very urban, gritty photographs. The imagery associated with these dogs is often harsh, very contrasted, conveying the idea of them being tough. In my opinion, this feeds the myth that these dogs are dormant psychopaths. So I decided to take the other route and portray them like hippies, soft fairy-tale-inspired characters, feminine and dreamy. The idea of Flower Power blossomed.
I made flower headpieces and approached three rescue groups in New York City: Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Second Chance Rescue and Animal Haven. All three welcomed my project with enthusiasm. I set up a studio in both boarding facilities and photographed some of the pit bulls who were up for adoption (July and August 2014).
An estimated 1,000,000 pit bulls are euthanized each year in America’s shelters. Victims of prejudices, uneducated laws and urban tales that associate them with ultra violence, they are probably the most misunderstood dogs. Pit bulls, like any terrier dogs, are strong and powerful animals. There is no denying that. But power does not necessarily mean violence. Most pit bulls are peaceful and sweet love bugs. Their power is in their snuggles and unconditional love. For this series, I imagined them like hippies, fighting the system and the image they are given with the power of love and the softness of flowers.
"Flower Power" is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same.