LA-based photographer Isaac Alvarez is usually known for his dramatic portraits that resonate with emotions.
But Isaac was fed up with people judging his pit bulls, so he decided to create a series of images with dogs and their owners to show all breeds "are not bad", it just depends "how it is raised".
"We do own pit bulls and it always bothers me when certain people automatically act terrified when they meet our dogs," he says.
Here he is combined with his pit bull Drax.
In his series Reflection of Me, each dog’s head can be seen attached to its owner’s body.
"I gathered a bunch of my friends that are dog owners and executed this project in a unique way," he says.
"I also asked the dog owners to select a specific attire that matches their dog’s personality. This brought character to the portraits."
Isaac says the series is about how our dogs are reflection of us in many different ways. Isaac also feels a deep connection toward rescue dogs, the majority of which are pit bulls.
Isaac posted a question on Facebook and was surprised at the amount of traction it received.
He knew he wanted to place each dog’s head on the owner’s body for the series, but he didn't want a typical white background with clean lighting.
"I wanted to be different and go dark and dramatic, which is my signature touch on photography," he says.
He admits for most of the images he told the owner what attire to wear, or he asked if they could wear something that matches their dogs personality.
His set-up included an initial two lights set on the side to the highlight the side of the body and face. A third light was added right above the forehead. The sidelights didn’t have a diffuser and the main light was covered with green CT gel.
He photographed the dogs before the owners, and used the dog’s pose to determine the pose of the owners.
“The biggest challenge that I had shooting this project was getting the right pose of the dogs. They were constantly moving and got so distracted with the strobe lights going off. Having treats for the dogs didn't help,” he says.
But humans have long been fascinated with the connection between their personality and their pets. A quick Google search reveals many tests like "What your dog’s breed says about you", or "Does your pet reflect your personality type?"
There’s even been a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavioural Science which found owners to rate their dogs as having similar personalities to themselves.
Image: Isaac Alvarez
Image: Isaac Alvarez