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Photographer is Out to Break Black Dog Stereotype

Photographer is Out to Break Black Dog Stereotype
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In this Monday, June 8, 2015 photo, photographer Fred Levy poses with his dog, a 12-year-old rat terrier named Toby, for a photograph at his home, in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By now, most dog lovers have at very least seen something about the stereotype that surrounds black dogs.  It basically states that a dog that has black fur is less likely to be adopted, simply based on color.  Professional pet photographer, Fred Levy is out to see if he can’t help break that stereotype.

Some people think it’s based on the association that many people and cultures with the color black, making it somewhat of an “evil” color.  Some think it has something to do with racism.  Either way, “black dog syndrome” is a very real thing.

It started with Levy overhearing a conversation while in a public dog park.  This led him to ponder the existence of black dog syndrome, and why this seems to be a big factor when it comes to adoption, and black fur.

“A dog shouldn’t be overlooked just because of its coat,” said Levy. “That’s a minor element when it comes to the dog.”

In this Oct. 2013 photo provided by Fred Levy, a black Labrador retriever named Denver poses in Levy’s studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

It’s now been about two years since he overheard the conversation in the park that prompted this photo series.  Levy calls it his “Black Dog Project,” and the striking photos are aimed at countering negative stereotypes.

Levy is featuring black dogs having their photos taken against a black backdrop.  Many of the photos are truly remarkable, and many of them have gone viral upon release.  The photos are something very special, and the hauntingly beautiful images stick with you for a long time.  Levy’s Tumblr account was considered one of the most viral blog spots of 2014, and he’s still going strong.

“I knew that, for this project, it would hit a nerve with two different groups,” Levy said.  “Pet-lovers would love it, and photographers would like it if I did a good job.”

Due to all of the attention he’s getting with his project, Levy has decided to publish his photos in a book.  It’s being titled “Black Dogs Project: Extraordinary Black Dogs and Why We Can’t Forget Them.  Along with the pictures, there are interesting backstories for each dog.

In this April 2014 photo provided by Fred Levy, a springer spaniel named Aki poses in Levy’s studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

“I want people to make informed decisions on the best dog that will fit into their lifestyle,” he said. “The fur shouldn’t be the deciding factor.”

There still isn’t any hard evidence of the existence of Black Dog Syndrome.  Some people out there think it’s nothing more than myth, while others draw “evidence” of its existence through statistical data on the turnaround time for black dogs finding forever homes while in a shelter.  No matter where you fall on the issue in question, the photos are amazing, and totally worth the view.

For more information on The Black Dog Project, or on anything else Levy has going on, you can access his Tumblr page by clicking here, or his Facebook page can be viewed by clicking here.  You can also go to Levy’s personal webpage by clicking here.

In this March 2014 photo provided by Fred Levy, a standard poodle named Mercedes Ann poses in Levy’s studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

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