Everyone loves a puppy, but Canadian photographer Pete Thorne doesn’t have time for them. As part of his Old Faithful series, Thorne exclusively photographs the oldest, grayest dogs he can find. His pictures prove that even in their senescence, you can tell a good pooch with just a glance.
Thorne was inspired after photographing his grandmother’s 100th birthday party. It got him thinking about taking more pictures of older subjects, but he didn’t want to be limited to just humans. Instead, he wanted to take pictures of canine centenarians (counting, of course, in dog years).
“To photograph these old doggies, I usually request that the owner bring their dog’s favorite treats and toys to help focus their attention,” Thorne says about his process. But since many of Thorne’s subjects are blind, deaf, or both, treats and toys don’t always work. That can make it hard to get a dog to face in the right direction.
“It can be quite a comical scene,” Thorne laughs. “I’ll be low on the ground firing off shots from my camera while the owner is crawling around on the floor with me trying to get the dog pointed in the right direction.” To make sure he doesn’t stress any of his dogs, Thorne only takes a few pictures per session.
While Thorne originally approached Old Faithful as just another project, it has become more personal to him over the last few years.
“To be honest, I was a little naïve coming into the project,” Thornes says. “I thought I would simply photograph some old dogs, choose the ones that look like caricatures of old guys and gals, and that would be it. It wasn’t until I started hearing about dogs that I had photographed passing away that I realized just how significant and close people become with their pets.”
As for the key to long doggy life? Thorne has seen a lot of old dogs through his camera lens, and they all have one thing in common.
“A lot of the dogs I have photographed came from pet mills, foreign countries, and even kill shelters, before they met their current owners,” says Thorne. “I think the key to a longer and more substantial canine life really just comes down to love.”
[h/t Design Taxi]