As an animal photographer, Gerard Gethings aims to capture the unique characteristics that make each of his subjects special. Whether they’re birds, bees, horses, and chameleons, he makes sure that he’s able to highlight their distinctive beauty and showcase their personalities with every portrait.
But for this project he did in collaboration with Laurence King Publishing, the photographer was tasked to spot for similarities, particularly between dogs and humans.
We’ve heard too many times that owners and their dogs often look alike, but just how true is this?
Turns out, this belief is backed by science. Michael Roy, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, was one of the first to explore this theory. He began his research by going to three dog parks and taking pictures of owners and their dogs separately. Roy then asked a group of participants to match them, and these people were able to correctly match the dogs with their owners with “reasonable accuracy.”
This experiment has been replicated many times, and it always yields the same result – most people could correctly determine whose owner each dog belonged to just by examining their faces.
Banking on this concept is a memory card game for kids called “Do You Look Like Your Dog?” by Laurence King Publishing. For this, the British publishing house commissioned Gethings to snap images of 25 pairs of identical-looking dogs and humans that will be featured in the game.
The photographer put out an open call on social media to find dog models, and the submissions poured in. After selecting his pups, he set out on searching for their human counterparts. As expected, choosing the perfect cast proved to be a very challenging task.
“The real problem was the number: 25 pairs. It would be easy to make five, or even 10 pairs work photographically, but to shoot 25 dog and human couples—and make them all look different, interesting, and amusing—was a challenge,” he explained to Artsy via email.
Many of his subjects were people that he randomly stopped in the park or on a bus.
“Without exception, people reacted positively. I always led my request with a compliment, particularly if it was to a total stranger … ‘I’m working on a photographic project and you have beautiful hair/ interesting teeth/a magnificent nose!’ I’ve been taking photographs for a long time so am well versed in administering dubious compliments,” he told The Guardian.
Gethings also gets the “you look like your dog” remark with his own pup, a border terrier named Baxter. He agrees, saying that they don’t just look alike; they also share the same personalities.
Two people out of the 25 chosen were the dog’s real owners, although Gethings didn’t specify who.
To emphasize their physical similarities, he enlisted the help of stylists while he took on the role of photographer and creative director.
“For the purposes of the game, it was necessary that the similarities were really strong, in order that the pairs could be easily put together, particularly by kids,” he said.
The 50 images turned out to be an entertaining exercise in spotting the similarities between humans and dogs. Check out the gallery below to see the creative portraits of dogs and their human counterparts.