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2018 Annual Conference

Philadelphia

March 01-04, 2018

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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Shannon Johnstone

SPE Member since 2007
Member Chapter: Southeast

2016 Caucus Application Portfolio

LANDFILL DOGS
These are not cute pictures of dogs. These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at Landfill Park, a former landfill converted into a public park.

The backdrop of Landfill Park is used for two reasons. First,the dogs will end up in a landfill if they do not find a home. They will be euthanized and their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. Below the surface at Landfill Park there are more than 25,000 dogs buried. I think of this park as a burial ground. These photographs offer the last opportunity for these dogs to find homes. The second reason for the landfill location is because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value; homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.


As part of this photographic process, each dog receives a car ride, a walk, treats, and about 2 hours of much-needed individual attention. My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance. As the project continues, we see the landscape change with the seasons while the constant stream of dogs remains the same. So far I have photographed 153 dogs. 132 have found homes or been sent to rescue, 7 are still waiting, and 14 have been euthanized for various reasons.

Chanel, impoundment #105541

Buck, impoundment #104912

Gabbriel, impoundment #85173

Julius, impoundment #89205

Zeta, impoundment #99058

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