There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who love a big, slobbery dog face, and human monsters. If you’re the former kind, you will want to immediately check out the photographs of Ty Foster, whose book Lick captures a number of furry pups in the middle of sticking their tongues out.
The project was celebrated with the launch of a pop-up photoshoot at Lake Hollywood Park, where Foster and publisher Knock Knock set up a photobooth for people with their dogs. The pups were rewarded with treats and peanut butter, which got those salivary glands going to take the shot as the dogs were in mid-lick.
“I was photographing a job for another client and the dog I was working with was losing interest in the shoot and was sitting still, so I decided to switch treats and try out peanut butter,” Foster says of the inspiration for the series. “It worked phenomenally, and in addition I ended up with a bunch of these wonderfully ridiculous outtakes of this dog with his tongue every which way. I immediately had this ‘ah ha’ moment and went and found a variety of other dogs and applied the same technique, the rest is sort of history.”
Foster and Knock Knock put the book release video on YouTube, which shows them approaching owners, recruiting people’s pets via word-of-mouth and social media casting calls, and otherwise finding a wide array of dogs to photograph, to capture the same sort of moments found in Lick.
“The real joy when it comes to working with dogs is that they don’t really bring any ‘baggage’ to a shoot,” Foster says. “They wear their personality and emotions on their sleeve, so to speak. Each individual image captured is a real genuine emotion and expression, and that’s the real pleasure when it comes to working with animals.” At the very least, Foster makes it sound like it’s worth the slobber and dry-cleaning bill afterward.