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One-dog policy

By Maija Astikainen

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Category Theses

The thesis One-Dog Policy consists of production and written parts. The thesis discusses pet dogs and the side effects of dog keeping, like decorating and dyeing dogs. The principle idea is that the dog is seen as a human-like creature. The thesis approaches images of dogs on the basis of portrait.
The production part consists of 32 photographs of different kind of pet dogs in Finland, Spain and the UK. The photographs are portraits shot on location and in a studio. The written part discusses why people keep pets, what kind of phenomena are related to pet keeping, and how the humanization of pets influences the human-animal relationship and photographing of dogs. In addition, the text deals with how the likeness of humans and animals is utilized in art and popular culture, and how seeing animals as humans affects looking at their pictures. How do we look at images of animals, when we see them as humanlike creatures?
The essential theme in the thesis is power and dominance. A photographer uses power by directing an objectifying gaze upon the model. In addition, the photographer has power to show the person in the picture in a preferred way. Power and dominance is also used towards animals when they are kept as pets, selectively bred and decorated. Pets are pastime and means of entertainment. They are humanized, misunderstood and treated like babies.
Another essential theme in the thesis is antropomorfism, attribution of human characteristics to animals. When looking at portraits of dogs, the codes of portrait are interpreted by an antropomorfic gaze. Animals become imaginary humans, but nevertheless, their distinct gaze tells them apart from humans.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Pages 82
Publisher Aalto University
Department Department of Media
Language Finnish
University Aalto University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Anthropomorphism
  4. Art
  5. Dogs
  6. Human-animal relationships
  7. Imagery
  8. Mammals
  9. pet care
  10. Pet ownership
  11. Pets and companion animals