Yoga by William Wegman and Self Portrait by William Wegman
10"x8" ($75) | 14"x11" ($125) | 20"x16" ($750) | 30"x24" ($2500)
Jen here to brighten your week with the best sort of Wednesday of all: a Wegman Wednesday! Today we’re debuting two exclusive new prints—Yoga and Self Portrait—based on original 20"x24" Polaroid photos created by Bill in the 90s. Both photos feature the oft-photographed and much beloved Batty, who stars in several other editions we’ve released over the years.
I love what Bill says about Batty’s beautiful ears in his statement about the photos, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since reading it earlier this week. There’s so much affection and intimacy reflected in how he writes and talks about her; his words and his work are in many ways a testament to how powerful and nuanced our relationships can be with other living creatures, and how those relationships in turn shape us into the humans that we are.
Bill’s been photographing his Weimaraners for more than forty years now, with the personalities of each playing an important role in the pictures that he makes of them. He describes Yoga as being his idea of a yoga pose, but also admits that it was probably Batty’s idea to start with. And then there’s Self Portrait, which we called “Batty in the Frame” as we worked on image selection and proofing, but was transformed into something else entirely once named… in this instance perhaps it’s not that exactly that Batty was running the show, but rather that Bill sees himself reflected back at him through the image they created together.
Weimaraners are such a distinctive breed that they can end up looking indistinguishable to the untrained eye, but if you spend a lot of time with Bill’s photos as we here at 20x200 have been able to do, their individual personalities begin to emerge. And it’s a joy to hear Bill talk about the individual relationships he’s had with everyone of them.
In a recent blog post he wrote about the unique—and often ungainly!—logistics of Polaroid shoots, and about the experience of revisiting the photos from those shoots years later. There’s a lot not to miss about the technical challenges of shooting with that beast of a camera, but still, he writes:
I miss seeing the curve in the lives of each dog under the scrutiny of one lens. The most hauntingly sweet and surprisingly poignant aspect of looking through these boxes of polaroids is seeing, because I am searching through the photos in reverse, my dogs Penny, Bobbin, Chip, Chundo, Batty, Crooky and Fay, all growing younger and younger.
These memories are bittersweet, it’s true, and reveal the bargain anyone makes when they open their heart to a dog. You’ll very likely outlive them, so you’re almost certainly setting yourself up for heartbreak down the road. Still, as any dog person will tell you, the joy they bring and the things they teach us about ourselves stay with us forever.
With art for everyone,