The German Shepherd leaps up and snarls savagely, baring its teeth. The
ageing security guard holds back his attacking dog.
But take a closer look.
The security guard is a woman. The German Shepherd is naturally placid.
This is role reversal of the alter ego in the most extreme of forms.
And its all in the name of art.
This image is just one of a selection which will be displayed by
Photography student Mel Westerman during this years
University of Derby Arts, Design and Technology Degree Shows being held
for the final time at the historic Green Lane site next month.
Entitled 'DogTag', Mel scoured the country looking for owners of
pedigree dogs to take part in her studio photoshoots, and many of her
selection of eight images feature dogs who have won trophies at Crufts.
The 30-year-old, from Wolfa Street, Derby, said: "I am not only
portraying women as men in stereotypical male roles, but also capturing
images of the animals accompanying them to compliment their personality
characteristics. It is all about exploring stereotypes and
then challenging them."
"The German Shepherd dog was naturally placid but reacted to the light
flash in the studio. This made her jump towards the camera, and by
happy accident, made her behave in a way supporting the look of the
"In another image, I captured a moment where a Beagle is looking
inquisitively, but obediently, with his owner, a
perturbing and macho sheriff."
Mel was attracted to the course because her peers had said the course
was one of the best in the country and had a good reputation.
Commenting on 'Dog Tag', Mel said: "Paradoxically, the 'creation' or
'birth' of these ludicrous personalities addresses significant themes
of identity, perception, narcissism, sexuality, feminism and gender."
"To enhance the characters further to a state of complete
ridiculousness and self-indulgence I wanted to give these 'men'
something else a best friend. Using dogs of an
appropriate breed and corresponding 'dog stereotype' emphasizes the
character to an even greater extent."
"This plays upon the adage of a dog being 'a man's best friend', and
the resemblance between a pet and its owner. These
clichs illustrate the British love of animals and also the
stereotypical genre of dog and owner within photography."
Her tutor Mark Durden, Programme Leader for Photography said: "Mel's
work is particularly distinctive with its combination of the visual
joke and more serious reflections on questions of identity."
"Our programme prides itself on the calibre of work in the final show
and Mel, like a number of graduating students, is really beginning to
push boundaries here. It's a very exciting time for
photography at Derby."
See for yourself!
The annual Degree Shows are the highlight of the year for our Arts,
Design and Technology (ADT) students, enabling them to display their
artistic achievements and innovative conceptual designs.
This years event is particularly poignant as it will be the
final ADT Degree Show at Green Lane formerly
Derbys Art School and Britannia Mill before the
new 20m Markeaton Campus opens next spring.
There will be two separate private views and openings taking place.
The work of the Art and Design students including
Mels work will be on show at the University's
Kedleston Road, Green Lane and Britannia Mill sites on Friday, June 2,
The public will be welcome to attend the various exhibitions on
Saturday June 3, and then between Monday June 5 and Friday June 9, from
The work of the Design and Technology students will be on show at the
Universitys Kedleston Road site on Monday June 12, 2006 from
The public will be welcome to attend the various exhibitions on June 10
and 12, from 9am to 5pm.