Statement by the photographer, Martin USBORNE
"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, 'The Silence of Dogs in Cars', 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 photo series 'The Silence of Dogs in Cars' consists of over forty-five images of dogs gazing silently through car windows, often in the dead of night. The images, which are staged and highly cinematic, evoke a mood of loneliness and longing. They are not so much portraits of dogs as studies in separation: on one level referring to the separation between humans and (other) animals but on another the separation within ourselves, between our everyday selves and the rawer (more animal) parts that we keep locked away. The photographs draw on the work of Edward Hopper and Gregory CREWDSON." (© Kehrer Verlag, 2012)