Off the page: ‘Dog Décor’
New Orleans photographer Sara Essex Bradley is known for capturing stunning shots of jaw-dropping interiors for publications including House Beautiful and Garden & Gun. But Bradley’s most recent collection of images is truly a pet project.
No, literally, a pet project. Inspired by the moment when her cat Steve jumped into a photo set, Bradley set out to document the laid-back life of posh pups in some of the most glamorous home environments from the Crescent City to Los Angeles to Brooklyn. In Dog Décor: Canines Living Large, the photographer documents more than 80 pampered animals in their refined habitats. These pets are so important that they were even allowed to describe their homes—and confess their crimes—in their own words. “As a guard dog, I’m useless,” woofs New Orleans-based writer Julia Reed’s beagle Henry. “Years ago [our] Garden District home was burglarized while I was on duty. But I’m docile and friendly, so how could I not greet a visitor and not be agreeable as I was placed in my kennel? It’s just good Southern manners to welcome guests.”
Other featured furballs also yap about their houses and their notable owners. A shaggy black-and-white rescue named Phil perches inside artist Amanda Talley’s 19th-century townhome. Leontine Linens designer Jane Scott Hodges’ wirehaired pointing griffons Coco and Dulce lounge on a rug in their colorful Garden District digs. A pair of black labs named Morgan and Shatzi sits before the oven in chef John Besh’s kitchen. And even Jake, the late golden lab companion of Magpie Café owners Lina and James Jacobs, gets a posthumous place of prominence in a photo taken on his back porch.
“Looking through the shots as a collection, I’m surprised by how often it seems like the space was designed to match the dog,” writes Bradley in the book’s introduction. “The stories the owners shared with me made me laugh, and cry more than a few times.