In her eye-opening project, Overlooked Black Dogs, animal photographer Shaina Fishman shares striking portraits of dark rescue dogs. Featuring a range of adorable and adoptable canines, the series aims to accentuate the subjects’ distinctive beauty and put an end to black dog syndrome.
In the emotive collection of portraits, Fishman skillfully captures both the delightful appearance and unique personality of each dog. As they pose against a black backdrop, the dogs are perfectly illuminated, drawing attention to their lustrous fur and expressive eyes. On top of emphasizing the dogs’ dark coloring, this monochromatic color scheme adds an element of tranquility to the photos, showcasing the subjects’s patience as they calmly wait to find their forever homes.
Completed in collaboration with Foster Dogs NYC, the series aims to increase black dogs’ chances of adoption through the power of photography. In the age of the Internet, many potential adopters rely on pictures to scope out possible new pets. Unfortunately, black animals are particularly difficult to photograph, resulting in underwhelming—and unrealistic—depictions of the darker dogs on shelters’ websites. As a professional animal portraitist, Fishman decided to try to fix this problem with the Overlooked Black Dogs project.
Since sharing the series, many of the dogs (including the lovable litter of puppies) have been adopted, giving Foster Dogs NYC and Fishman hope that this unwarranted bias can be eradicated—both through better photos and by increasing awareness. “While I can’t take great photos of every black dog in a shelter,” Fishman explains, “I can bring awareness to the problem and with this series show that black dogs are stunningly beautiful.”