Photographs by Mark Ruwedel
In 2003 I had an artist residency at Joshua Tree National Park. I found myself more attracted to the areas outside of the park’s boundaries—in particular, Wonder Valley with its hundreds of abandoned houses that I began photographing obsessively. On one of my visits, towards the end of the day, I came upon Dog House #1 (which actually shows three such houses). I found them to be both sad and funny (I was reminded of the Three Little Pigs). While I had been photographing in black and white, I chose to use color film here. I think it was the light . . .
Photographed over a 10-year period, Dog Houses is a collection of 30 forlorn and often humorous color images of canine shelters found throughout the Southern California desert landscape. American photographer Mark Ruwedel (b. 1954), known for his majestic “Westward” series of residual landforms created by the expanding railroad lines across the 19th-century American West, turns his discerning eye to the last western frontier—the American desert. Dog Houses, part of Ruwedel’s larger “Desert House” series, published by MACK (2016), takes us to a place where the signs of human activity in the landscape are much more recent and revealing. Like their human counterparts, the doghouses in these photographs constitute an inventory of an iconic yet surprisingly flexible form. Often made from discarded material left over from the construction of the human houses, the funny and sometimes haunting structures evoke the asymmetrical yet reciprocal relationship between owner and animal.
Mark Ruwedel is represented in museums worldwide: Tate Modern, J. Paul Getty Museum, LACMA, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC) and National Gallery of Canada, among others.
Price: US $40
10 x 9.25” (254 x 235 mm)
35 color illustrations
Release date: October 2017
Dog Houses is published in a limited edition of 1,000 copies.