- Hardcover: 132 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316227706
- ISBN-13: 978-0316227704
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 824 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Underwater Dogs Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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824 customer reviews
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One issue I had with this book was the layout. Some photos are centered, which means that due to the binding the photos are essentially disfigured by the layout. You can't see the whole expression of the dog, despite the fact it was enlarged around two pages for the purpose of highlighting that photo. Other photos were off-center, or covered one page, which made it much more fitting for the format.
If they would change the centering so that photos were not cut off by the binding, or bind it differently, that would improve the quality of the printing and make all the photographs equally visible.
UPDATE: finished the puzzle a while ago but had to add this: there was ONE MISSING PIECE, and unfortunately it was the EYE of the Chocolate Lab. See photo. Any chance I could get sent just that one piece to complete the puzzle I paid for?
He understands dogs and their wildly expressive enthusiasm for chasing balls and fearless water play. This is physical humor with a heart. You get to see it all so clearly because he also demonstrates the skills and knowledge to light his moving subjects under water and what a particular lens' focal length matched with the right point of view can capture what matters the most in a fraction of a second. He distills that one moment out of the many in each dive. He has convinced both natural breeds and unusual breeds to "go for it". Fun meets trust. Thankfully, he also is skilled in how to control tone, color, contrast and depth of field masterfully to complement the composition and intentional distortion of the subject. He solves complicated problems and has a good eye.
However, in general, this is not an entirely new creative genre. The more established William Wegman is the undisputed pioneer and creative master of humor, gesture and novelty photography using dogs. Consequently, there is already an existing market for anything adorable and humorous with dogs that steps beyond dogs posed for simple calendar shots. Casteel's version has a Wegman in space effect. The pool provides a way for the dogs to defy gravity while still allowing natural distortions created by water resistance from the force of the dive. The result pulls and parts various flaps and folds of the dogs' faces. This allows for the unexpected and highly expressive to surprise us and to distinguish each dive from the others. Casteel, like Wegman, understands the crux is the power of gesture, and that the unexpected or unusual sells. I think Casteel has far better craft than Wegman, although Wegman does not rely upon matters of craft. But Casteel is absolutely dependent upon it and thankfully for us, has complete control over everything except the magic born in the singular moment itself. Casteel is not trying to be Wegman, does make elaborate set-ups, props or wardrobe, and instead has carved out his own "underwater dog guy" identity quite well. Both photographers succeed wonderfully for their own reasons.
Since Casteel is also partly based in Chicago I am hoping for my own reasons he might figure out a way to do a book that relates to our city. Maybe shots of dogs diving through ice fishing holes on Lake Michigan can contrast with southern Californian pools. They might chase loaded Bowser Dogs instead of balls.
I have given this book as a gift to several friends with happy results. It also happens to be well printed for a very modest price. I think it is a steal.
Seth Casteel has put together a fascinating and revealing portfolio of photographs of dogs at play ... underwater. The head-on/in-your-face pictures are quite amazing and they certainly elicit a wide range of reactions. Casteel offers a different perspective of how seriously and aggressively dogs approach the simple task of playing fetch. Wide-eyed, wide-mouthed and baring some wicked teeth, many of the dogs come across as furry sharks, sea-monsters or even aliens when shown underwater ... much different than the happy little fuzz ball flopped-out on your floor. The book certainly delivers on the author's desire to reveal the wolf-roots of the domesticated dog. Adding to the book's appeal, Casteel doesn't settle on presenting readers a predictable portfolio of "water-dogs" (Retrievers)... Bulldogs, Dachshunds and even a Chihuahua are among those breeds represented. The best part of UNDERWATER DOGS, however, is the final chapter that has out-of-the-water "mug-shots" of all the dogs photographed throughout the book ... talk about Jekyll and Hyde.
UNDERWATER DOGS is a great book that will surely generate smiles, chuckles and quite a few "OMGs!"; A must-have for dog lovers.