instance, because she was interested in showing the way
they thrive in the urban setting, rather than living the awful lives generally associated with stray dogs.
She has photographed gray wolves in sanctuaries in
the U.S. and Europe (Reverie, 2005); dogs working in various capacities in Liguria, Italy (Al Lavoro!, 2011); and the
search-and-rescue dogs that worked in the aftermath of
the 9/11 terrorist attacks (Retrieved, 2011).
The Retrieved photographs also inform her portraits
of Arlington’s horses and bring a political element into
the work. The “horses have done many funerals of soldiers who have lost their lives overseas in the wars that
followed those attacks,” in the aftermath of which the
search-and-rescue dogs worked.
The two bodies of work also combine to emphasize the
ways that animals help human beings in times of crisis.
“Horses and dogs are the two animals closest to man
through history, and they both had very important functions in this case,” Dumas explains. Both the search-and-rescue dogs and the Arlington horses provide comfort in
addition to performing their duties. “In crisis or in disasters, then we realize how much we need them to give a
different perspective than our own,” Dumas says.
As with her images of 9/11 search-and-rescue dogs,
which were widely recognized in the mainstream me-
dia internationally, viewers may be tempted to read into
the portraits of Arlington horses signs or reflections of
the experiences they’ve had. With the 9/11 dogs people
were “quick to say you can see [their experiences] in their
eyes, and it doesn’t matter if it’s true or false because
it’s real as soon as somebody appoints these values to
But Dumas suggests, “Maybe it’s nice to see them for
what they are. One of the roots of my work is that we have
this desire to have this relationship with [animals] and we
find all these different ways [to try to relate to them], but
in the end they always stay on the other side.”
Dumas says she can still suffer from insecurity at
times and feel frustrated that her work is not taken
very seriously by the elite fine-art world, though she
notes that more artists are using animals as primary
subjects in their work. “Luckily I do have some people
who really believe in it, who are in good positions and
very influential,” she says. “I have the opportunity to
exhibit it or show it in a context that’s kind of challeng-
ing the art world.”
© ch ARlotte Dum As/cou Rtesy of Julie sAul GAlleRy, New yoRk/GAleRie pAul ANDRiesse, AmsteRDAm
An image from Dumas’s series on the stray dogs
of Palermo, Italy.
TAKE ME TO
JEFF RICH’S LONG-TERM
DOCUMENTARY PROJECT ON THE
FRENCH BROAD RIVER BASIN IN
NORTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE
QUESTIONS THE WAY PEOPLE THINK
ABOUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP
TO RIVERS THAT FLOW THROUGH
THEIR BACKYARDS, COMMUNITIES
AND CITIES. BY CONOR RISCH
IN HIS NEW BOOK, Watershed: The French Broad River,
which was produced with the support of the 2010
Photolucida Critical Mass book award, Jeff Rich observes
the French Broad River and its tributaries through landscapes and portraits he made along the rivers’ banks.
After being declared “dead” from pollution in the
mid-twentieth century, the French Broad has become
healthy again and is considered one of the success stories of the Clean Water Act. But through Rich’s photographs we understand that the health of the French
Broad—and indeed all of the nation’s rivers—depends
on vigilance and good stewardship.
All photos © Jeff Rich
The Blue Ridge Paper Mill on the Pigeon River, one of the tributaries of the French Broad River. The plant was historically a major
polluter of the Pigeon River and the French Broad River Watershed.
Rich’s connection with the French Broad began in
2005 when he documented the work of RiverLink, a
non-profit river stewardship organization in Asheville,
North Carolina, where he was based at the time. Rich
had a deep interest in environmental issues. He grew
up in Florida near an island that was a key nesting habitat for birds, and people in the community were able
to save the habitat from development, ingraining in
Rich an understanding of the power citizens can have