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The Refusal.
Photographs by Jo Longhurst. Text by Ute Eskildsen, Jo Longhurst.
Steidl & Partners, Gottingen, 2008. 56 pp., 66 color illustrations, 7½x9¾".

Publisher's Description
For several years, Jo Longhurst has been photographing British whippets by bloodline, working with top breeders in order to explore the exacting and obsessive quest for the perfect show dog. The shaping of the domestic dog has a history in nineteenth-century eugenics, a movement born out of the invention of the photographic process. The Refusal questions ideas of conformity and difference, breeding and eugenics—the search for perfection. There is a wealth of animal imagery in the history of art, of animals as symbol, metaphor or allegory, yet it is rare that they are represented as themselves. Longhurst challenges this precedent. She explores the intimate relationship between dog and breeder, in which power, control, love and desire are intertwined. As part of her working process, Longhurst employs a variety of photographic technologies that have been used to record human portraits, from state-of the- art to stereoscopic.

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