I get a lot of junk sent to me by email, but every once in a while I get a real beauty, something that makes me laugh out loud at how funny and absurd life can be. The phenomenon of creative canine grooming shows has its home in, you guessed it, the USA. Poodle owners dye, shave, clip and accessorise their pets so they resemble chickens, fairies, underwater sea themes, even American football players. As photographer Ren Netherland has discovered, the extremities of canine grooming have attained cult-like status.
Is it only a matter of time before there’s a new TV show called Poodle Makeover? Not that it’s a new and fleeting craze or anything. Netherland has reportedly been the only professional photographer allowed to take photos by event organisers over the last decade. There’s no doubt this is Art with a capital ‘A’, but an important question remains: is it cruel? Poodles are pretty intelligent creatures in the canine kingdom, are they enjoying behaving like clowns or are their loving owners creating defenceless victims? I wonder what PETA would have to say.