by Sophia Nicolov and Andy Flack, University of Bristol for the Animal History Museum.
People are always looking to create amusing photos and videos of their animals. We want to feel that our dog is the top dog, cutest dog, handsomest dog, or even the weirdest dog because we believe they deserve to be recognized as unique individuals with personalities and lives of their own.
We live in an age dominated by ever-evolving technology where we are constantly trying to capture every single moment of our lives, and technology is increasingly allowing us to find new ways of looking at things, making the ordinary extraordinary.
The Animal History Museum's exhibition "I'm Ready for my Close-up Mr Casteel: The Making of Underwater Dogs" does exactly this by combining a deep appreciation of the human-animal bond with the technology that creates and captures ‘never before memorialized moments' of that bond. It is for these reasons that Seth Casteel's photographs are so captivating. What could be more ordinary than a dog chasing a ball into the water but "the surprise, the concentration, the sheer joy of play and total engagement in a watery environment – or the remarkable mastery of technique needed to create such evocative and vibrant scenes, it seemed audiences couldn't get enough of these images," as Casteel describes it.