When it comes to dog photos, your first reaction might be to “aww” at their cuteness or giggle at their silliness. However, the work of Ontario-based photographer Jess Bell evokes an entirely different reaction. There’s no doubt her subjects are adorable, but Bell’s latest experimental project turns pet pooches into powerful, other-worldly creatures that look like something from a dream. She uses colorful powder to dust each dog mid-jump, capturing them in the air as if they’re magic spirit animals emerging from colorful puffs of cotton candy.
“These crazy colors and dynamic swirls are captured in-camera in real time and on location,” explains Bell. “As a result, every single image is unique and highlights the amazing differences between how dogs of various breeds and body shapes move. The powder acts as a perfect action amplification device.” Bell rounded up the help of her animal-loving friends who provided their own pets for the shoot. She recalls, “I had a great deal of fun deciding what color to use on what dog. I took into account each dog’s personality and appearance and chose a color that I thought would either contrast strongly or match closely with their fur.” If you’re wondering if the power is safe for animals, don’t worry—Bell uses a non-toxic pigment made from corn starch.
Bell’s series highlights the incredible agility of these dynamic dogs, each thrusting powerfully forward like cannonballs. While most photos feature a black background, devoid of any distractions, others show the playful pups eagerly catching frisbees. Bell reveals, “The pure joy that these dogs clearly feel when asked to run agility or catch a disc is palpable. And likewise, the joy I feel when capturing these images makes my heart sing.”
You can see more from Bell’s photography portfolio on her website.